There are risks associated with going to a clinic or hospital. Phzio encourages other healthcare professionals to follow its lead by offering telehealth services.
As Americans are encouraged to stay home and away from crowds, what happens if you need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional? There are obvious risks associated with going to a clinic or hospital. The waiting rooms are filled with sick people!
“Telehealth, where diagnoses and treatments are delivered using a phone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer, is often a better way to get treatment. We have already proven it can be done with physical therapy. And if it can work with one of the most challenging sectors, which is traditionally thought of as hands-on treatment, it should be able to work for a broader range of healthcare applications,” says Darwin Fogt, MPT and Phzio founder.
Phzio launched its telerehab services in 2015 and has quickly grown to more than 1,000 providers in 48 states and throughout Canada.
Telehealth is timely now and will hopefully become the new healthcare paradigm
Fogt said that many people would benefit from having telehealth as a first option. With this current coronavirus outbreak, they include older Americans and those who are immunosuppressed or have cardiopulmonary diseases who are at higher risk of catastrophic complications if they contract the disease. Likewise, people who live with, or interact frequently, with these people should take precautions so they aren’t exposing their loved ones to the virus.
“Telehealth fits in with social distancing. In addition to being vigilant about hand washing and not touching your face, people aren’t having to worry about being surrounded by potentially compromised patients. Plus, when more people interact with their doctors from home, it will also help keep people out of the ER, reduce crowds in waiting rooms and help the staff stay on schedule with appointments.”
Long wait times don’t happen with telehealth.
Fogt is confident that this current pandemic will push telehealth further into the forefront of medical delivery.
“By the time the next pandemic happens, hopefully everyone in the medical community will have already built a telehealth component into their practice. It’s cost effective, safe and it gives more patients access to immediate care.”
He explains how his service is pioneering this new normal for healthcare.
“One day, if you get sick there will first be a triage with your specialist via telehealth. That should take about five to 10 minutes. Our average triage takes about eight minutes. Among physical therapy patients, a small percentage will then need to be seen by a clinic for imaging or manual therapy. But for most, telerehab will be acceptable and we can get started immediately.”
Telehealth, or in this case telerehab, empowers patients so they’re not living with pain
In situations such as this current coronavirus pandemic, telerehab treatments are giving patients more control.
“Instead of sitting at home suffering in pain, they can interact with their physical therapist in real time and do the exercises from home. They can be proactive and continue to help themselves feel better while at the same time minimize their risks of being exposed to the virus.”
There’s no doctor’s prescription required to use these services.
“We initiate a video call and diagnose your condition. A treatment plan is created and then we monitor and adjust your therapy as needed. Typically, you can connect with a live physical therapist within 24 hours of contacting us and in some cases much more quickly.”
After the initial one-on-one evaluation is completed and the plan of care is established, the patient will be scheduled for online follow-up visits. Clicking on a button embedded in an email brings the patient and physical therapist into a secure virtual treatment room for guided therapy sessions. The patient places a phone, laptop or tablet on the floor and starts following along with a series of two to three-minute therapeutic exercise videos. The physical therapist monitors the patient as they exercise, giving feedback and modifying the movements as necessary through video chat, audio chat or texting.
Patients will also use the videos on a self-serve basis.
More telehealth benefits
Using Phzio as an example, Fogt explains how telehealth improves patient care.
• It improves accessibility. “In rural areas, someone might drive two hours for traditional treatment. In urban areas, it might take 45 minutes to drive four miles! With telerehab, you can do a movement analysis from your phone, computer or tablet. You can work rehab into your lunch hour, between meetings or while the kids are at soccer practice.”
• You still get real-time interaction. “At your appointment time, clicking on a button brings you and your physical therapist into the virtual treatment room. Then you can place your phone, laptop or tablet on the floor and start playing the two to three-minute exercises. As you’re doing these exercises, your physical therapist is monitoring you, giving you feedback and modifying the exercises as necessary through video chat, audio chat or texting. It’s a private and one-on-one experience.”
• You’ll be more likely to seek help sooner. “If you let nagging injuries go, your body will find ways to move that won’t affect that pain. Soon, you’ll develop poor movement patterns that affect other parts of your body. Before telerehab, by the time the pain got so bad that you finally sought help, practitioners would first need to unravel the symptoms to find the original source of the problem. Now because telerehab is so easy, you’re likelier to fix the problem faster and before complications arise. All without the risks associated with being out in public during a pandemic.”
To find a telerehab physical therapist near you, visit https://Phzio.com/.
Biography: Darwin Fogt, MPT
Darwin Fogt, MPT is a California Licensed Physical Therapist with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from USC and a Masters degree in Physical Therapy from Cal State Long Beach.
Darwin has spent his career designing research-based treatment protocols for advanced orthopedic and sports patients as well as specialized, niche populations including perinatal and diabetic patients. He believes that physical therapy is a widely under-appreciated and important piece of the overall health care landscape. Darwin is passionate about getting the message out to the medical community and the general population that physical therapy includes performance training, wellness, and prevention in addition to just rehabilitation.
While licensed as a personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine, Darwin founded Evolution Physical Therapy in 2002 to create a clinic which fostered not only exceptional patient care but also provided state of the art fitness and sport training as well as professional, research-based fitness training. Evolution Physical Therapy was designed to move beyond an exclusive rehabilitative approach to care and extend physical therapists’ expertise to include performance, prevention, and wellness services. In 2012, Evolution Fitness was created as an extension of the services at Evolution Physical Therapy. Evolution Fitness bridges the gap between rehabilitation and advanced fitness while promoting “intelligent Fitness Designs”. Fogt sold the 9-clinic practice in 2018 to focus his attention on new growth opportunities.
Realizing a need for improving access to physical therapy care, Darwin is a founder of Phzio, an online telerehab platform that connects patients to physical therapists in real time to assess and treat primarily musculoskeletal conditions. By improving access to care, telerehab is a perfect complement to traditional care models. Phzio allows physical therapists and other ancillary care providers to extend the reach of their services and scale while providing patients with accelerated outcomes.