In a COVID-19 world of lockdowns, restrictions, social distancing and uncertainty, we have of course witnessed the radical transformation of service models for businesses of all ilk.
Allied health professionals and clinic owners like physiotherapists and chiropractors felt this pinch as much as anyone, if not more, due the historically physical and premise-based nature of the beast.
Why historical? Because we now inhabit a rapidly developing era of telehealth and home visitation. The brick and mortar clinic, while still relevant, is becoming optional rather than necessary.
Up your remote game with telehealth
Telehealth is rapidly becoming a trusted and widespread mode of delivery health services across the spectrum. From GP’s to psychiatrists and of course, allied health, clinics across the world have embraced telehealth to deliver remote services.
“In a few years, the idea of receiving medical treatment exclusively at a doctor’s office will seem quaint” – Harvard Business Review.
What is telehealth?
Put simply telehealth is the remote delivery, via solutions like Zoom, of health services.
Allied health practitioners are able to book patients, deliver services and give treatment via video conferencing services, no matter the location of either the patient or the health provider.
Is telehealth right for you?
Clearly not every health service can be delivered in adequate ways through telehealth. Then again, many genuinely can.
Some examples of telehealth treatments:
- Physiotherapy consultations
- Chiropractor consultations
- Psychological sessions
- Therapeutic exercise treatments
If your specific treatment is not able to be adequately addressed through telehealth, you can either provide regular in-clinic in care or provide mobile care (below).
All you really need to provide telehealth for your clients and patients:
- Adequate private location
- Camera, computer and microphone
- Adequate privacy and security mitigations
- Online booking and payment solution
Read here about cybersecurity in the age of telehealth to ensure patient confidentiality.
Read here about the best cameras and microphones for remote work and telehealth.
Ditching the address
Aside from telehealth, which allows a high degree of treatment options and solutions, sometimes physicality is required.
In many circumstances, there will remain the need to conduct physical treatments and sessions. It’s hard to do everything via Zoom, so there remains a need for in person patient treatment.
But! Do you need to do so in a dedicated brick and mortar clinic? For many, yes. But for those who have been burdened by leases without patients or those getting into the allied health game who have not yet started a physical clinic, there are mobile options.
Instead of investing capital in a physical address, replete with the ongoing costs and trappings that come with commercial leases and fit outs, there are many who could instead go with the flow and dedicate themselves to mobile treatment.
In the same way that cafes and restaurants upped their mobile game and began offering delivery services through COVID-19 lockdowns, so can an allied health professional.
If you look at the model of a home visitation setup that has been the norm for massage therapists for some time, you can clearly see the options available.
Throughout 2020, people have become much more receptive to the idea of mobile treatment and there is value in meeting that receptiveness.
If you choose to offer mobile treatment, you will often be visiting the home of the patient.
This will require:
- Transportation, such as a work vehicle which can be claimed come tax time
- Mobile friendly allied health equipment
- Mobile payment POS software and equipment
- Online booking solution
- Cloud accounting software
New business model and future opportunities
If you choose to engage in either (or both) telehealth and mobile treatment options, you’ll find that you are able to offer a range of pandemic-friendly services that not only help safeguard your business from the realities of lockdowns and restrictions, they also open up new client bases and revenue streams.
Geography, for example, need no longer dictate your client base.
By embracing the new remote allied health business model, you could position yourself at the forefront of the next allied health revolution.
Keeping your physical clinic is still a more than viable model, however at least dipping your toe into these remote and mobile options is certainly worth serious consideration in 2021.