TeleHealth is giving customers and providers the opportunity to fly way beyond geographical areas.
Karen Finnin Director of Online Physio, Physiotherapist, speaker, author, mentor and a commentator on the telehealth space joins us today to share her expertise on TeleHealth. She has been part of the TeleHealth space for years and has been one of the first health professionals who delved into it.
Karen tells us how we can get started in our TeleHealth journey through her personal experiences and learned lessons.
Getting to know Online Physio
Online Physio is an entirely online physiotherapy practice that provides consultations to those without easy access to traditional care.
There’s certainly a bit of hesitation when talking about physio services online but when you break it down, a lot of what we do is clinical reasoning.
A typical consultation starts with questions and answers to learn more about the injury. We then guide the patient to do some tests on themselves rather than someone doing it for them. Lastly, we come up with a diagnosis and prescribe an online rehabilitation program. All of this happens through online communication channels via voice calls, secure messaging or our app.
Customers loving their experience with Online Physio
Patients who come to their practice know the won’t be getting manual therapy. Having a proactive patient for this works unbelievably well because they have all the tools they need and the frequent follow ups they can get.
Hands-on versus Online Care Services.
Hands-on in-person consultations and manual therapy will always be here. Offering online care services to give people is an alternative to health care at times when access is a challenge. We want to give them as much value as we can.
Other disciplines providing online care services
There’s so much you can do with telehealth! The speech therapy space has been doing amazing things from being face-to-face to being able to communicate via video chat.
In the pediatrics space, children in remote or rural areas with little to no access to specialty care now have the opportunity to get the help that they need.
Teledentistry is one that you won’t think of going online but here they are now offering primary diagnostics to patients in far flung areas. Primary diagnostics with oral cameras are used to screen concerns.
Getting into the TeleHealth space
There is often hesitation when getting started with TeleHealth for allied business owners. There are 3 things that should be done or considered for this:
- Adapting online – Create access where there was no access before; solve a problem that people have. That’s when it’s likely to be a smoother and viable transition for you.
- Experience and Training
Technology considerations for TeleHealth starters
It isn’t true that you need very expensive gadgets or software in the market. Free software such as Skype, Zoom and other platforms are now customised for TeleHeath.
Starting with simple tools will definitely get you started in the digital health space. In the long run, consider investing in more expensive pieces such as a professional booking software, a microphone, and a project management software to take care of everything.
The less time admin stuff takes you as a health professional, the better.
Suggestions for getting comfortable with technology in business
Get and explore trials of software and programs you can use for your business by trying it out on a consultation with a family member or close friend.
Pricing and accessing your services
Karen’s practice has completely changed their pricing model from pure consult pricing where you pay per video call to a period of access. This is a type of pricing that online health providers need to look at. For Online Physios, they have 3 legs of access – 1 week, 4 weeks, or 12 weeks. They make suggestions as to what conditions may suit which package and there’s an option to upgrade and extend.
Patients are loving their easy and intuitive access. Their patients see more value in having access to you. But, it is imperative that we put boundaries for ourselves and set expectations for patients as to when they can expect responses to their messages. Batch and block the tasks instead of replying to them one by one.
You’ll see that this is the style of communication that people are demanding these days.
Karen’s outlook on allied health services in the next 5 years
What she’d like to see happen is for expectations for patients will catch up to the fact that online is convenient and it’s an option.
Consultation and Training with Karen
Over the years, Karen has gotten questions from professional health care providers about their practice. She realised that there was an information gap on how to get started in this kind of industry and started making videos and wrote blog posts.
She started listing down the tools where people could check off some of the things and steps you need to get started and so many other things people can use to get ready and start your TeleHealth service.
Karen’s Learnings from her business adventure
Health, business and technology gave her a complete transformation in her career and pushed her forward. In terms of advice, it would be knowing what’s missing, what do you like spending your time on, how you can make it into a great direction you can run with, learning, and being open.