By Keet Health
Outpatient rehab is undergoing a shift like we’ve never experienced. While many specialties across healthcare have always had the luxury of holding appointments via telehealth, the outpatient rehab community is just now getting its first taste.
We’ve never been able to get reimbursed for telehealth or eVisits until now (and it’s still a gray area with some payers), but in our current COVID-19 reality, staying connected to patients via telehealth and direct messaging is one of the most critical things you can do.
On the flip side, physical therapists have always had the ability of spending time with patients. Many providers across healthcare don’t have the luxury of spending 45 minutes with a single patient. Building relationships and having face-to-face appointments multiple times a week are PT’s bread and butter, but what happens when you take the bread and separate it from the butter?
How can PTs still be hands on when the rules are hands off?
Playing the short-, mid- and long-term game
There are three parts to our current reality that we’re looking at at Keet. Apart from helping us digest what’s going on, this helps prioritize what is most important right now – continuing to connect with and support patients.
- The short term: Right now, patients are likely scared, feeling lost and might not be continuing their exercises. We all understand the importance of physical therapy, but patients may be deprioritizing therapy in the light of COVID-19. Whether they are recovering from surgery, an injury, or are just trying to keep up an exercise routine, staying connected with your patients means you can keep them connected to their goals.
Our tip? Reach out to your past and present patients, see how they’re adjusting to the “new normal” and remind them that you can be a resource for any new or existing aches and pains they’re concerned about. Leverage a communication platform to easily stay in touch with patients and offer two-way messaging for patients. Send them education on the importance of staying active (for physical and mental health), precautions to take to avoid COVID-19, and more.
- The mid term: Patients who deprioritized therapy in the initial phases of the pandemic may now really need our help. In addition, many, due to a sub-par at home work environment and a change to their exercise routine, may have aches and pains that need attention.
This is where providers can step in. Offer virtual visits through telehealth platforms and provide “wellness checks” of at-home desk setups (you might be shocked by the poor alignment & posture you find). You can identify hazards in their setup, coach patients on how to create a better office environment, and provide exercise plans for when they’re off the clock. Look for an engagement platform that offers easily accessible telehealth solutions and exercise plans so your patients can make the most of their summer.
- The long term: When you look back on this time, will you be proud of the relationships you formed with patients? Did you create promoters who will rave about your clinic and the benefits of therapy?
Right now, it’s more important than ever to bring your patients the care they need outside the clinic, tools that are easy to work with, and an engagement strategy so you’re never more than a message away. By powering meaningful connections between patients, providers, and care teams, we can help deliver quality care experiences so people can continue living, healthily.
Don’t have an engagement strategy? Now is the time to put one in place. The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the fault lines in our healthcare system, creating an even greater sense of urgency to reimagine ways to protect the health of our communities.
At Keet, we’ve developed a modified version of our flagship product to support therapists efforts in more effectively managing remote care for your patients. It’s available free of charge to the outpatient rehab industry through June 30, 2020.
Want to learn more? Head to the Keet site to take advantage of this offer.