As the patient population suffering from chronic illness is continuously on the rise, market research estimates that 7 million people will be using telehealth by 2018. In addition, because of health care policy changes, home health agencies and hospital systems have adopted telehealth for cardiac surgery recovery patients, total joint replacement (TJR) patients, and patients suffering from chronic illness such as CHF and COPD.
PTs working for these organizations have used telehealth to help patients recover. Thus, here are the 5 ways that PTs can benefit from the implementation of telehealth at their organizations and in their own practices:
1. Keep patients engaged
Patient outcomes are highly influenced by patient engagement. Telemonitoring provides patients the ability to take and track their biometric data, which is important in empowering patients in their recovery and engaging them in their health.
PTs also need to be able to monitor their patients and ensure that they are completing their recommended fitness plans. Telemonitoring provides the capability for patients to log their exercise and check off which medications they are taking daily. Moreover, some telemonitoring platforms allow patients to take answer survey questions about their conditions and symptoms daily all through HIPAA compliant technology.
2. Reduce PT burnout
As our our healthcare system transitions from volume-based to value-based, PTs have felt an incredible amount of pressure to ensure that their patients are recovering on time and that their time is used effectively.
Telehealth is a great resource for monitoring patients and ensuring that they are not only on the road to recovery, but also that they are ready for a scheduled physical therapy visit. This, in turn, helps to reduce physical therapists' burnout levels.
3. Facilitate Communication between clinicians
Some telehealth platforms provide patients with the ability to take images of wounds. PTs can send images directly to physicians and have them evaluate a wound that might be suspicious. Moreover telemonitoring software platforms can help clinicians communicate on treatment plans, coordinate visits, and manage integrated care.
4. Increase performance
Telemonitoring allows patients to not only track their progress in recovery, but it also allows PTs to see what interventions are working for their patient. PTs can receive instant feedback on their interventions and increase patient satisfaction.
5. Decrease in cost
Cost reduction a big topic and a major drive for many agencies to adopt telehealth. Not only does telehealth help prevent avoidable hospital readmissions and ER visits, but it helps reduce the number of visits by a PT, improve clinician workflow and reduce overall clinician time.
Have you used telehealth as a PT? Comment and share below; we’d love to hear your experience! If you are interested in adopting telehealth for your practice, check out the resources available by the APTA.