Telehealth has turned out to be a big hit with patients needing physical therapy during the pandemic, according to ATI Physical Therapy, which provides home health services.
The Bolingbrook, IL-based company launched its telehealth platform, CONNECT, during the pandemic with the assumption it would be most effective for non-operative patients, patients with lower pain and disability levels, and those further along in their recovery. But ATI found telehealth helped a much broader audience and has performed more than 43,000 virtual visits since CONNECT’s launch.
“Patients with any diagnosis and any age can benefit from telehealth,” said Mirette Mikhail, Clinic Director at ATI Physical Therapy in Downers Grove, Illinois. “I’ve virtually treated an extremely wide range of patients this year…Telehealth is for everyone.”
ATI expected younger patients would be the primary telehealth users when it first launched it’s virtual platform, but found telehealth to be just as popular among older patients.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found telehealth visits for all providers increased 154% during the last week of March 2020 compared to the same month a year earlier.
Since the pandemic, insurance providers, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), have offered more flexibility in the use of telemedicine. Provider organizations, including the American Medical Association, are lobbying for expanded use of telehealth beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency.