As the recent health crisis has shown, patients need to have more options available to them when it comes to healthcare. Traveling to an in-person office visit or session isn’t always possible, or in the client’s best interest. With telepractice, high-quality care and services can be offered to your clients remotely.
Demand for telehealth appointments has drastically increased since the introduction of telepractice–remote services for speech-language pathology and audiology– by ASHA in 2005. Factors tying into the increase include concerned clients who wish to limit or eliminate contact with people and public areas, technological improvements in video communication, and the convenience of connecting with others online from the safety of home.
Before a clinician can begin to work with a client in a remote setting, the appropriateness of the remote approach must be determined. An evaluation and assessment of the client’s needs, abilities, and limitations will help you make an informed decision. In some cases, in-person consultation and treatment are still necessary.
For telepractice to be effective, clients must be willing to permit clinicians to conduct sessions in this matter. Some cases may need the consent and support of family members as well. Be sure to confirm proper equipment and internet access are available before connecting for appointments in this manner.
Certain clients that are older, have disabilities, or even experience high anxiety may not get the most value from a remote treatment plan. It’s essential that they feel comfortable with the experience and are encouraged to communicate their needs and desires to get the best care possible.
Keeping Standards High
As a clinician, you must be committed to delivering the same high standard of care through telepractice as you would for an in-person setting. This means that you need to continuously build your skills not only in the various methods of treatments and sessions that you offer but also in effectively communicating and delivering the needed results via remote interactions.
Ensure client confidentiality and safety by following HIPAA guidelines and taking necessary precautions to keep all data and conversations completely private, even when working from a home network.
Make sure that you understand how billing, patient documentation, and record-keeping will work in a remote setting. You want to make the entire process simple and transparent for yourself and for your client. They may have many questions that you need to be ready to answer.
Understanding Advantages for the Client
Your clients will appreciate the option to use telepractice because they can be more comfortable when working from their homes and feel safer.
One of the excellent advantages that telepractice gives your clients is the additional accessibility and freedom in the resources that you can offer as part of their treatment. You may be able to provide a number of engaging and interesting activities to peak their interest and keep them invested. You are also able to provide both real-time sessions and send data and resources back and forth to keep lines of communication open.
With the widespread use of telepractice, clients and clinicians have an additional resource at their disposal to work together on a practical and useful treatment plan. Greater flexibility in care can make a big impact and encourage a positive outcome to result from the treatment. WPS provides resources for evaluation and assessment that can help you in your telehealth endeavors.