Telehealth was of course already an existing treatment option well before the pandemic upended business practices across the globe. Originally reserved for patients located in a remote area, or those suffering mobility issues, today, telehealth is now the domain of anyone.
When COVID-19 restrictions, especially in early 2020, dictated that telehealth be used for all manner of medical and allied health care, most professionals set themselves up in at least a basic sense, to ensure their businesses survived and that their patients could still access treatment.
Telehealth is simple. It’s essentially the remote delivery of various health services and advice through video chat solutions like Zoom.
The great thing about telehealth is that allied health practitioners are now able to book patients, deliver services and give treatment via video conferencing services. This removes geographical barriers and allows you to deliver services no matter where either yourself, or your patients are.
The technology is there
Video conferencing services like Zoom have exploded in terms of adoption and ease of use. Almost everyone now has access to a suitable device, a webcam, and video conferencing software. This widespread technological adoption has removed barriers from offering services like telehealth.
Trust in telehealth has increased
While in pre-pandemic life, trust and uptake of telehealth was low, those barriers have been substantially removed.
Firstly, people are now generally quite savvy and comfortable when it comes to the use of Zoom, for work meetings or personal chats. This combines neatly with the pandemic experience of telehealth, where people who had never used remote health services were virtually forced into giving it a try.
In fact, according to an ABS survey completed during the 2020 lockdowns, which was reviewed by Frontiers science journal as part of a study into Australian telehealth adoption, “in November (2020), almost one in six (18%) Australians used a telehealth service in the previous four weeks.” The study also noted that “almost half (49%) reported they were likely to use telehealth services in the future.”
That’s great news for the future of telehealth and the ability for allied health practitioners to add this mode of treatment to their options.
Diversify your service offerings
While brick and mortar clinics are still a mainstay, it’s now completely feasible to not only offer telehealth, but to even commit entirely to remote healthcare.
You’ll find that by at least offering the option of telehealth, you can capture a client audience who live remotely, or who have mobility issues that impede them from travelling to a physical appointment.
Is telehealth right for you?
Yes, not every session or professional can be accommodated by telehealth. Obviously, a remedial massage cannot be performed on a Zoom call. However, there are many treatments that translate very well to a remote session.
Common telehealth services.
- GP consultations
- physiotherapy consultations
- chiropractor consultations
- psychological sessions
- therapeutic exercise treatments
- follow-up physical therapy appointments.
Setting up for telehealth
Telehealth is simple to set up and use. Let’s run through some necessities and optional extras.
You’ll obviously need to be in possession of a suitable device to offer telehealth. Whether you have a desktop PC, laptop, or tablet, just make sure it’s capable enough to handle video conferencing. This of course includes a high-quality webcam and microphone to ensure professional AV. You’ll also need to be sure of the security of your device to avoid sensitive data breaches.
It’s crucial that you have a secure and private area to conduct telehealth consultations. Be sure its lockable and reasonably soundproof. Privacy is an important aspect to telehealth, so you don’t want someone entering the room or eavesdropping on a call.
You’ll of course require Zoom or similar to get into this game. On top of that you’ll need some trustworthy antivirus and security software. With the sensitive nature of telehealth, security is vital. You’ll also need some clinic management software to handle bookings and a CRM to handle patient records.