11 Benefits to Telehealth for Therapy
Telehealth for medical appointments has become commonplace during the pandemic. That is true for therapy as well. However, this may not last as many insurance companies are only allowing telehealth for therapists through the length of the pandemic. Fortunately some commercial insurances are starting to make telehealth a permanent benefit. The federal government is also working on bills that expand telehealth. Expanded Telehealth Access Act (H.R. 2168) is one example. If this bill passes, it will instruct Medicare to permanently add PTs, PTAs, OTs, OTAs, SLPs and audiologists as authorized providers of telehealth.
As therapists we see many benefits of telehealth beyond being able to physically distance from each other. Here are a few:
- Serves as a value-added supplement to in-person visits
- Improves access to care while limiting exposure risk during pandemic
- Reduces cancellations due to lack of transportation, sick child, work schedule, time constraints, too far to travel, weather, etc.
- Maintains continuity of care and ensures patients receive care no matter circumstances
- Helps achieve prescribed frequency of visits
- Allows for increased access to therapist specialists (e.g., pelvic health, hand therapists, cognitive rehabilitation, etc.)
- Can be used to reach new markets or underserved rural populations
- Provides therapists with opportunities to develop new skill sets in evaluation and treatment process
- Promotes active strategies vs. passive modalities
- Allows for functional training in the home and home safety assessments to increase safety and decrease fall risk
- Allows patients to receive medically necessary services needed to manage chronic condition(s)
When providing quality, individualized care for our patients, telehealth should be right in the mix of modalities we consider now and in the future.