Updated: May 10, 2021
For those who don’t know, I recently did a grand reopening of my Facebook group - now called Telehealth Business Academy - where I announced that rather than just cash practice, I’ll be focusing content more on how to build a telehealth practice or how to incorporate telehealth into your current practice. With that in mind, I wanted to take it back a bit and share my thoughts on why you should start a telehealth practice and why I think it’s so important. If you’ve been thinking about offering telehealth services, here’s your sign to get started!
Telehealth allows you to continue seeing your patients, regardless of the circumstances.
Since the pandemic started, I know that there have been a lot of opinions as far as whether physical therapists are considered essential or non essential, whether outpatient practices should be open, whether therapists should be involved in care at the hospital. Speaking from the point of view of somebody who's done a lot of home health and outpatient work as well as having my practice (out of a gym previously and now out of my garage), I personally would be on the side of not meeting with patients in person to stay on the safe side. In my case, when the pandemic started I still had a gym practice, but our gym closed and I wasn’t seeing clients there anymore. So how could I still see patients?
My number one reason to have telehealth services is that you need a way to still see your patients right now. Patients in outpatient settings aren’t always in an emergency situation, but I have worked with a lot of people who have some kind of chronic pain that just won't go away. And we all know that the more inactive you are, the more likely it is to get worse. And so for the clients that I've been working with, even meeting with them once a week and giving them a plan to work on at home has helped to decrease their symptoms and keep them healthy, rather say, “Well, today is our last visit until who knows when. Good luck.” Telehealth allows you to still have a vehicle in order to be able to advise your patient, treat them, and help them with anything that comes up.
Telehealth gives you more freedom and flexibility in your work and personal life.
My second reason is actually part of why I started doing home health originally, which is that you have more freedom and more control over your time. One thing that I loved about home health and still love about having my own practice, is that I’m able to schedule my own appointments around when I want to be seeing people. And the same thing goes for telehealth. As long as it's okay with your clients, if you want to only see people in the evenings or you want to get all of your appointments out of the way between 6am and 9am, you can do that! Or you can see people on the weekend. Whatever is best for everybody. It just allows you to live the life you want and enjoy yourself and be with your family but still be working as well.
You can offer telehealth services as a side gig.
The third reason to do telehealth is if you’re looking to have something on the side outside of your current job. I know that there are a lot of people working full time that still have a bunch of student loans. Or maybe you've been a clinician for a while and you don't have any student loans but you're saving up for something, like your kids’ college fund or a new house. Telehealth services are a great thing if you want to be able to have some kind of a side income to continue to build the wealth that you have so that you can live your life and enjoy it.
Telehealth allows you to utilize amazing new healthcare technology.
The fourth reason, which may not attract everyone but is something I really love, is the use of technology for telehealth. It’s really fascinating to see what kind of software is out there that you can use to help patients, and what can make your life easier as a clinician. If you’re interested in learning about healthcare technology, telehealth is the place to be. It just opens the door to so many things. A couple of people that I know through Facebook are working with virtual reality tech doing physical therapy. So if these types of things interest you, this is definitely the place to be.
So those are some of the main reasons that I think telehealth is so great and so important as an option for both clinicians and patients. Speaking from my own experience, I can say honestly it has worked very well for my clients for the past year. When I first started, I wasn’t sure how it would go, but the clients I’ve worked with have all really liked it. On top of this, it's allowed me to develop really meaningful relationships with my clients. I look forward to seeing them and chatting with them and seeing what's going on. And I feel like I can almost be more involved in their care and offer a more customized and compassionate experience for my clients as opposed to always doing in person work. I don't know if everybody feels that way but if it sounds like something that might resonate with you, I definitely recommend it.
If you’ve been considering telehealth or you're ready to get your telehealth practice started, join my Facebook group here!