The pandemic ushered in a new age of healthcare for millions of Americans. To help slow the spread of Covid and reduce the risk of burdening the healthcare system, many providers began offering Telehealth as an alternative to in-person care. Insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid also supported the effort by providing flexible coverage during the pandemic.
Shortly after the pandemic began, I had an experience where I had to call my doctor for an urgent medical issue. Instead of a traditional appointment, I was evaluated via a video call and prescribed medication over the phone. It was fast, convenient, and covered by my insurance — just like a regular visit.
The same kind of telehealth appointments are happening in Physical Therapy offices around the country, too.
In November, my 63-year old mother suffered complications from COVID-19, leaving her with severe vertigo and balance issues. We knew she needed to be evaluated by a Physical Therapist right away, but she was unable to walk without the assistance of a walker plus someone helping her. It was clear she wasn’t going to be able to physically see a therapist any time soon, so we called a local physical therapy practice and explained what happened.
Fortunately, we were able to schedule a telehealth visit for an initial evaluation. The therapist sent us a secure link via email where we logged into the video appointment. Then, he walked me through how to hold the iPad up to my mom’s face so he could see her eye movements. I was able to move the iPad up close so he could get a good look and conduct a thorough evaluation of her condition. I was very impressed with how well the telehealth appointment went and how easily the therapist was able to evaluate and prescribe eye exercises virtually. It was absolutely amazing to see first hand how well telehealth works. I believe it is a game changer in terms of expanding access to healthcare services to people who desperately need it.
The Manual Touch Physical Therapy has been providing telehealth services since the beginning of the pandemic to those who are unable to physically come into the clinic.
Here’s what to expect before, during, and after a telehealth appointment.
What to Expect Before a Physical Therapy Telehealth Visit
Scheduling a telehealth visit is easy; simply call our office at 847-541-7600 or contact us through our website. Our scheduler will take down your information, including insurance details, to determine your coverage and schedule your appointment. If you’re a current or former patient, we should have all of your information already on file.
Then, we will email you a HIPPA-compliant “Zoom” virtual appointment link. You’ll use this link to virtually attend your appointment during your scheduled day and time.
What to Expect During a Physical Therapy Telehealth Visit
To join the virtual appointment, simply click the link we sent to your email either on your phone, tablet or computer. If you have any trouble with the link, call our office and we will assist you. Once you’re connected to the Zoom virtual appointment, you’ll be able to see and talk to your therapist over the video call. You’ll need to turn on your camera so that the therapist can see you, too.
The therapist will ask you questions and walk you through movements or exercises in front of the camera to evaluate and/or treat your condition. For any hands-on treatment, the therapist can teach you to do self hands-on work yourself, or another person at home or family member can assist you as well.
Many conditions can be evaluated and treated via telehealth, however, there are some conditions that are best treated in person. No matter the reason, if you’re in pain and can’t get into the clinic, please don’t hesitate to give us a call to see how we can help.
What to Expect After a Physical Therapy Telehealth Visit
To treat your condition, the therapist may prescribe exercises and/or hands-on work, which you’ll need to do, on your own as prescribed, until your next appointment. To help keep you on track, you’ll receive a link to The Manual Touch app, with video demonstrations of the exercises you were prescribed. This way, if you don’t remember the exercises you were taught during the telehealth appointment, you can go back and watch them anytime using the app.
If you have any questions before your next appointment, feel free to call or email us right away. We are always happy to help! I hope this article has been helpful to explain how Physical Therapy Telehealth appointments work, and what to expect before, during, and after your appointment.
As Denise always says, keep on moving!