Telehealth: A therapist’s perspective

Changing Your Perspective

Change can be a difficult thing for many people, but it is something that is always happening in life. Sometimes we choose the change that happens in our life, sometimes it chooses us. Most people would likely agree that COVID-19 has forced a change for nearly everyone in the world. And with this change, many are trying to take a step back to see the big picture, to figure out what we can learn from all of this. If you have been to our clinic, you know how much we love a good inspirational quote, so here is one from Sun-Tzu: “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” If you spoke to 100 different people right now and asked them what opportunity they have discovered because of COVID-19, you may get 100 different answers. If you asked a Physical Therapist, you may be surprised to hear that one of their answers is Telehealth Physical Therapy.

Our last blog gave a detailed description of Telehealth Physical Therapy and discussed the benefits associated with this format of healthcare. But now that we have been working with this platform for the past few months, we thought you might find it interesting to hear about how we at North County Water and Sports Therapy Center feel about Telehealth Physical Therapy. So, we asked our therapists three questions, and the results are quite enlightening.

1. What are some things that surprised you about telehealth?
Overwhelmingly, our therapists were (pleasantly) surprised with how easy Telehealth Physical Therapy has been in this time of change and transition. With only a few clicks on a computer, we are able to connect with our patients and begin our interventions.
Additionally, many of our therapists commented on how personal the telehealth visits feel. We are able to see and speak to our patients while they are in their home environment, we can see their individual needs, and we can connect with them one on one uninterrupted to help them progress towards their physical therapy goals.

2. What are some aspects of telehealth that you think can be more beneficial than in-person treatments?

All of our therapists recognize the benefits of seeing the patient perform their exercises in their home, using their own equipment, helping them problem solve how they can use what they have at home to do what they need to do to get the results they want. We can see how people sit or stand at their work station and make real time changes and adjustments in the moment and see immediately results from those changes, a luxury we do not have when we treat patients in the clinic. We can also see how our patients do movements that may cause them problems in their daily life such as lifting, getting in/out of bed, and getting down or up from the floor in their home and can train them in ways to be more efficient or effective in the moment.

We have also noticed how much more engaged the patient is during our telehealth sessions. When we treat a patient in the clinic, there can be a sense of “being treated” by the therapist, the feeling that someone else is making the patient better. It can be easy, especially in an open gym setting, to get caught up in conversation with the therapist or other patients and allow the treatment to become a passive experience, albeit still beneficial. With telehealth, the patient must do for themselves the things the therapist always used to do for them. This creates not only a greater accountability on the part of the patient, but also a sense of empowerment as the patient is now taking control of their condition and given the resources to help themselves feel better and meet their goals.

3. What have you learned in your experiences with telehealth that will now change or shape how you treat patients in person?

Here it is… the opportunity! As physical therapists, we regularly attend courses to learn how to better serve and help our patients, learning how to use different tools or different techniques to help our patients meet their goals and improve their overall function and quality of life. Incorporating telehealth physical therapy into our practice has been just as enlightening as a continuing education course.

All of our therapists agree that we will now be more aware of how we educate and give feedback and verbal cues to our patients, being more descriptive with words when teaching or correcting movement rather than only relying on our hands to correct movement. Education is a large part of what we do as physical therapists. Telehealth physical therapy has taught us that educating our patients and empowering them with knowledge and accountability, rather than relying on our hands, is imperative to the long term success of our patients.

We have also learned that telehealth is not only for pandemics when patients cannot leave their home. For the patient who is receiving in-person treatments in the clinic, a few telehealth treatments to allow the therapist to see their home exercise set up, sleep positions, or home workstation can make a huge impact in the patient’s ability to manage their own condition for the long term beyond completion of in-person treatments.

We at North County Water and Sports Therapy Center are focusing on the opportunity, not the chaos. Telehealth physical therapy is continuing to be a beneficial platform for our patients. If you have questions or are interested in getting started with telehealth physical therapy, please contact our office and we would be happy to discuss your options.

To see more check out

Therapist during telehealth session
Interacting with clients through telehealth!

Connect and Thrive with Telehealth Physical Therapy

Connect and Thrive with Telehealth Physical Therapy
How many times have you used technology in the past month to communicate with loved ones, co-workers or others in the outside world? Now, take yourself back in time 20-30 years and your answer to this question would likely have been very different. In this day and age, it goes without saying that technology has changed the way we communicate, collaborate, and connect with others. The medical field is no exception to this, and new methods of providing healthcare have begun to emerge in recent years. In the past, you may have used an online portal to check in with your medical provider or to obtain health information such as testing or imaging results. But what you may not know, or may not have known before COVID-19, is that you can also spend face-to-face time with your healthcare provider via virtual or online platforms. Telehealth, or telemedicine, is a term that broadly refers to the ability to communicate with and/or obtain healthcare services directly from your medical providers through telephone, video call, or other online platforms.

What is Telehealth Physical Therapy?
Connect with simple to use, real time video conferencing technology, and work with your musculoskeletal problem solver (aka your physical therapist) to develop and implement a movement and treatment plan specific to your goals.
For the purposes of this blog, we will be referring to “telehealth” as the method in which you engage in a virtual visit with your physical therapist through a video call from the safety and comfort of your own home. Telehealth physical therapy at our clinic includes one-on-one remote evaluation, consultation, education, and treatment of individuals with various musculoskeletal conditions. This occurs through a private video call, with a link sent to your e-mail which you can access from your phone, tablet, laptop, or computer. During these visits, your therapist will spend time asking you about your problem, assessing your movements, and creating an individualized care plan to manage your symptoms and improve your daily function – just like they would here in the clinic. Telehealth also gives your therapist an opportunity to virtually assess your home environment and address any challenges you may be having at home such as optimizing your home office or desk set up, navigating certain steps or stairs, or figuring out exactly where and how to perform your prescribed home exercises.

What are the benefits of Telehealth Physical Therapy?
Effective treatment to get you back to doing the things in life you want and need to do. The best part is that is convenient, saves time, saves money all from the safety and comfort of your own home.

Telehealth physical therapy services have been gaining popularity over the past several years, largely because it is convenient, private, safe, and cost-effective. Telehealth is ideal for those who would like to save time, money and energy spent on travel. It also provides access to care for those who are unable to come into the clinic due to transportation challenges or because they live in rural or distant areas. During this time in particular, telehealth physical therapy offers a safer option for receiving care that allows patients to stay at home while physically and socially distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. Another benefit is that telehealth physical therapy is also available via direct access, meaning you don’t have to have a referral from your doctor to get started.
New research has demonstrated reduced costs, improved patient outcomes, increased access to healthcare services, and higher patient satisfaction with the use of telehealth physical therapy. Here is a testimonial from one of our patients who has opted for telehealth physical therapy services at our facility:
“Working with skilled physical therapists using telehealth is just like being in person… without the commute! I’ve increased my physical therapy sessions to compensate for regular chiropractic, which cannot be conducted remotely, and it’s working great! Keeping up with physical therapy during this time is extremely important and very helpful for overall wellbeing. Given the recent changes in telehealth rules, all Californians now have access to the most competent physical therapists in our state and possibly our country, not just those who live in San Diego! Take advantage of it!” –Stacy

Physical Therapist talking with a patient

How do I know if Telehealth Physical Therapy is right for me?
re you wondering if telehealth would be right for your particular situation? To help decide consider the following questions:
1. Do I have access to internet and a smart device with a camera? Telehealth physical therapy visits can be accessed from any smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer that has a camera, as long as the device can be set up in a way that allows your physical therapist to see your full body during the visit.
2. Do I feel comfortable exercising in my home? It is helpful during telehealth sessions to have a little bit of space in your home where you can perform exercises and move around. Some situations may also require a caregiver or helper to be present during telehealth sessions to assist with certain activities and make sure you are safe.
3. Do I need hands-on treatment? Many patients benefit most from a physical therapist’s expertise through guided exercise, functional movement training, self-massage techniques and education regarding pain or symptom management strategies which can be done safely and independently in your own home. However, in some cases your physical therapist may recommend that you attend visits in the clinic in order to evaluate or treat you with hands-on methods.
Ready to sign up for telehealth? Call us at (858) 675-1133 or click the following link to fill out the intake form and we will get back to you right away: click to fill out basic information form

Still have more questions? Give us a call and our staff will guide you in finding the best option to get you moving again and back to doing the things you love.