U.S. Rehab, a membership network of independent complex rehab providers, has released a whitepaper on the use of telehealth in the CRT industry.

Titled “Telehealth for Complex Rehab Technology: Is It Effective?” it is available for download from the U.S. Rehab website.

“Telehealth has been a great tool for complex rehab technology professionals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But what we have seen is that telehealth should be available to use outside of the public health emergency (PHE).”

— Greg Packer, President of U.S. Rehab

The rehab industry has seen many changes in the last 12 months, including determining the physical location of where patients are seen for evaluations and keeping employees safe from COVID-19. Packer notes that there has been an increased use of telehealth in some areas of CRT. However, the telemedicine allowance programs authorized by CMS which allowed for ATPs, PTs, OTs, and other rehab professionals to use telehealth does not extend past the PHE.

Studies have indicated that the use of telehealth in CRT indicates similar or, in some cases, better outcomes to in-person services and that patients often prefer telehealth, according to a media release from U.S. Rehab.

“The studies do suggest that telehealth is not intended to completely replace in-person services provided by ATPs, OTs, PTs or physicians. Rather, based on the needs and complexity of individuals, telehealth can help streamline services and reduce the amount of in-person interaction.”

— Dr. Mark Schmeler, Associate Professor and Director of the Continuing Education Program in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh

Rehab professionals must take into consideration the patient’s specific condition when determining the applicability of telehealth to each patient. Complex rehab patients are a high-risk population. Packer predicts that using telehealth will increase over the next few years and suggests that CRT providers prepare now to provide this service and understand what situations telehealth is best suited.

The U.S. Rehab whitepaper includes commentary from Greg Packer, Dr. Mark Schmeler, and Kyle Walker, Director of Operations of Assistive Technology at VGM Homelink, the release continues.

[Source: VGM & Associates]