What is Telehealth Physical Therapy?
Telehealth uses technology to deliver an in-person experience from a distance. Telehealth Physical Therapy can be compared to out-patient physical therapy in delivery as well as the breadth of conditions that your physical therapist can treat. This means that conditions such as vestibular dysfunction, pelvic floor dysfunction, orthopedic conditions can be treated without having to visit our clinic.
Our goals for your Telehealth Physical Therapy Session are the same as any other outpatient physical therapy at FYZICAL Windber.
We strive to assist you in
- Getting out of pain
- Optimizing your physical functioning
- Improving your strength, flexibility, and range of motion
Our patient-centered Telehealth program focuses on outcomes for individuals who might have a compromised immune system, cannot travel, or need a convenient home-based appointment. Telehealth is also for those who are traveling or are seasonally away from FYZICAL Windber.
Telehealth is very similar to the outpatient Physical Therapy you normally receive, except that you can enjoy the session from the comfort of your own home, in your office, or while traveling.
Your physical therapists are experts in movement and musculoskeletal dysfunction. They can remotely guide you through your stretching, exercise program, and even modalities that can improve your overall physical well-being. The only limitation to optimizing our outcome using Telehealth Physical Therapy is the creativity of you and your therapist.
Telehealth physical therapy may require a slightly different approach to your session. When undergoing a telehealth session for physical therapy, your therapist won't be able to use their hands. Physical therapy is often focused on the use of manual therapy, when this is not possible you must have a physical therapist who is an expert in treating your condition.
How is a Telehealth Session Conducted?
There are a variety of Telehealth or teleconferencing platforms including popular consumer solutions like Skype, FaceTime, and zoom. FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers have chosen to use a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform that allows you to participate in a Telehealth Physical Therapy session in front of a computer, on a tablet, or even from your smartphone with the highest security and privacy features.
Your Telehealth physical therapy session will be very similar to a standard physical therapy session. First, your physical therapist is going to ask you questions related to your goals, your current condition, and any limitations you may currently be facing that prevent you from achieving those goals.
Obviously, a physical examination cannot be done in quite the same manner as in-person. For example, manual muscle testing won't be done by a physical therapist restricting your movement, rather necessary vocal feedback about movement that improves or worsens pain and dysfunction.
Is It Effective?
Advances in Telehealth Physical Therapy allows us to deliver safe and effective methods of treating pain, dizziness, even musculoskeletal dysfunction. Telehealth PT has recently been shown to provide very similar results diagnostically to those results observed in the standard outpatient clinical setting for those who have suffered a stroke.
In cases where patients need a very hands-on approach we recommend our patients consider our hybrid telehealth physical therapy services that include occasional in-person visits to our clinic.
Your physical therapist must be a skilled practitioner to deliver your plan of care via Telehealth. Due to the rising costs of healthcare, many physical therapists have had to become experts at guiding their patients through implementing a home exercise program.
Telehealth physical therapy is here to stay. A part of that is incorporating an effective home exercise program with regular follow-up visits that provide safe and effective relief of your pain, dizziness, or other physical dysfunction.
Telehealth Physical Therapy can be very effective in a variety of situations. Here are two articles published recently.
- In-home therapy effective for stroke rehabilitation, study shows - ScienceDaily.com
- Validity and reliability of Internet-based physiotherapy assessment for musculoskeletal disorders: a systematic review - Sagepub.com
What Conditions are Commonly Treated through a Telehealth Session?
We can successfully treat a variety of common conditions including
- Neck and back pain
- Fall Prevention
If your Physical Therapist is unable to identify the cause of your condition, the staff may offer you our Telehealth Physical Therapy Hybrid program.
What is needed for my Telehealth Physical Therapy Session?
You are the most important piece of equipment for a Telehealth physical therapy session. However, that's not any different than your standard outpatient Physical Therapy appointment.
The technology used in the delivery of Telehealth physical therapy can differ across providers. At FYZICAL we utilize secure and encrypted, real-time audio/video experience over the internet. All that is needed is an internet-enabled device.
For our patients it is as easy as using a smartphone with earphones. Other patients prefer the large tablet screen the ability to navigate with a mouse and keyboard, their webcam on their laptop or desktop computer. As long as it has a camera and wifi, we can connect.
Our expert providers will help you with your technical decisions needed to get the most out of your Telehealth Physical Therapy experience.
What About HIPAA and The Safety of My Private Data?
To provide Telehealth to our patients, we abide by current HIPAA privacy policies. This is why we use a highly-encrypted, secure platform to deliver our Telehealth sessions.
Is it Safe to Have Remote Physical Therapy?
Absolutely. Telehealth can be both safe and effective in delivering outpatient Physical Therapy care. We treat our patients' safety as our first concern.
If you are already registered as one of our patients, you are familiar with our safety overhead system (SOS). You're also aware that FYZICAL prides itself on delivering only the highest quality of care in the safest way possible. If this was not achievable through Telehealth, we wouldn't offer it.
What Can a Physical Therapist Treat During a Telehealth Session?
A physical therapist treating through Telehealth is bound only by their creativity and the creativity of their patient. Certainly, the equipment available to a physical therapist in the clinic setting may not be readily available in a patient's home or office setting. In this case, we may lose some efficiency for the sake of convenience, but that doesn't mean that a patient cannot be treated much like they complete their home exercise program.
Is Telehealth Physical Therapy Right For Me?
This question can only be answered by your physical therapist in a 1-1 meeting. Telehealth Physical Therapy can provide an effective, safe, and high-quality experience for you, though there may be certain conditions that are best served in person. Hybrid Telehealth may be what you need to provide both the convenience and the expert you need available to you when you cannot make it to the clinic. Unfortunately sometimes the leading experts for your condition are not just down the street, rather they may be across town or in an adjacent city. When the distance is a concern, Telehealth physical therapy allows you to work with pain, musculoskeletal dysfunction, or dizziness expert remotely.
Do I Need To Fill Out Paperwork For My Telehealth Session?
A Telehealth Physical Therapy session is similar to traditional outpatient physical therapy appointments when it comes to paperwork. We will still need to know your medical history, the reason for your session, and your overall goal for your physical therapy.
There are a couple of things that will differ:
You will need to consent to treatment through Telehealth
Acknowledge that you have a private space to complete your sessions
Does My Insurance Cover My Telehealth Physical Therapy?
Until we verify your insurance benefits, we can't be certain. The great news is that we are happy to verify for you if your insurance will cover all or a portion of your sessions. We provide this service to you at no charge.
If your insurance carrier does not offer Telehealth benefits, that doesn't mean we cannot serve you. You can speak with your insurance provider to see if Telehealth can be added. We are also happy to talk with you about alternative options.
Does Telehealth Physical Therapy Still Apply To Me If I Live In A Different Area?
This is a question we can only answer after having more information about you. Our providers must abide by both local laws as well as those related to physical therapy in the state in which you reside. Some states participate in the Physical Therapy Compact, which makes it easier for our providers to deliver care across state lines when necessary.
What About Restrictions On My Telehealth Physical Therapy Sessions?
Though physical therapy provided through Telehealth has many of the same considerations a physical therapy in the outpatient setting, not all insurance plans will cover Telehealth physical therapy. Other insurance plans may have reductions in the duration of care.
Telehealth physical therapy may be covered under Direct Access laws of the state in which you live. Telehealth physical therapy may have to be paid out of pocket, but your best course of action is to check with your insurance provider. If you receive your health insurance through your employer, speak with your human resources department to see if Telehealth is included in your policy.
Can I Find Telehealth Physical Therapy Near Me?
One of the biggest advantages of Telehealth Physical Therapy is that it does not require your provider to be near you. You can find an expert who lives on the other side of the word to treat your condition and receive top-notch physical therapy.
We also recognize some patients may prefer to establish care with a local practitioner. A FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Center maybe even more convenient for you. You can search from our over 400 clinics across the US at https://fyzical.com/locations. We're happy to talk to you about set-up of our Telehealth or hybrid Telehealth Physical Therapy program for you before coming into our FYZICAL Windber clinic.