Updated: Sep 17, 2021
Necessity is the father (or mother!) of invention, so why is Telehealth just now gaining traction as a desirable platform for healthcare services?
These are certainly unprecedented times that we live in. It has been over a century since a global pandemic has gripped society in the ways that we are currently experiencing. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected many lives and industries, the same cannot be said about Telehealth. In fact, since early 2020 many health insurance companies have began to classify Telehealth as covered services and consequently many hospitals and clinics have adopted this mode of service delivery. What does this mean for families? Increased access, reduced cost and wait times, and in many cases, improved health and continuity of care.
“We will be discontinuing services come September.”
This is the experience of countless families of medically fragile children, and it's not because their little ones no longer need therapy come September. So why are these children who so desperately need therapy missing out for 4-6 months a year? The dreaded respiratory season: a fragile baby's greatest threat to progress. While most children suffer congestion, fatigue, mild fever, and discomfort after contracting a respiratory infection, these infections in medically fragile children often land them (and their families) in a hospital bed with potentially life threatening symptoms. Not only is this traumatic for everyone involved, but it is COSTLY and also a tremendous setback to any progress that child could otherwise be making. It’s no wonder that parents elect to avoid crowded waiting rooms and other gooey tiny humans like the literal plague.
“We can’t receive services in our hometown because there aren’t any qualified providers nearby. All of our care is provided at the regional children’s hospital.”
Historically, parents in rural or limited service areas have faced provider shortages with no viable solutions in sight. Parents will drive hundreds of miles to be seen by large hospital organizations. These hospitals can have waitlists for months or even upwards of a year to be seen for high priority diagnostic and treatment services. Months of waiting and hours of driving later, the parents are met with busy providers juggling their time like a delicate balancing act. Worst of all? They don’t know the little ones they serve on a level that lends itself to continuity of care and comprehensive care. All the waiting and sacrifice for a brief one page report that may or may not get to the root of their child’s “problem” can be a discouraging blow for families that are just trying to piece together the puzzle that is their child. Those fortunate enough to get some answers are scooted out the door with lingering questions about “what now???” Therapeutic recommendations are infrequently discussed at the time of evaluation and parents return home to their remote location where they still can’t access services to address their concerns.
When you think about how limited services are based on all of these factors, it’s no wonder that families and clinicians alike have rejoiced over improved access and coverage of teletherapy services.
Who benefits most from teletherapy services?
Families of immunocompromised children
Families in rural or limited service availability areas
Families with limited transportation
Families with hectic schedules making it difficult to keep a standing appointment time each week
What are the advantages to virtual therapy?
Access to highly qualified specialists
No rushed appointments
No waiting rooms with sneezing rambunctious littles wanting to put their tiny goopy fingers on your baby :)
Ability to receive services in the security of your own home
Therapy in the child’s natural environment
Do you have other questions about teletherapy services? Let us know!