What is Telehealth? (aka "virtual visits")
The short answer is that it stands for “telecommunications health”. The better answer is that it’s a long-distance appointment with your healthcare provider, using your phone or computer. It’s a valuable option for when you can’t, or prefer not to, have an in-person visit, but still need and can benefit from treatment.
In other words, the situation we find ourselves in due to COVID-19 and California’s “Stay at Home” order is exactly what Telehealth is designed for!
Who is it for?
Any of our patients! Telemedicine has been steadily growing in popularity due to its convenience, but we’ve started offering it as an option now, when so many of our patients are and will be “sheltering in place”.
While we’ve been slowly and carefully expanding our in-clinic hours (and now have availability every weekday), we understand that coming in to see us may not be an option for everyone.
Your safety and health are paramount to us, and Telehealth allows us to treat you while you stay at home. Depending on your needs, goals, and comfort level, it’s also possible to blend Telehealth visits and in-clinic visits! Please speak with your PT to come up with a plan that works best for you.
How does it work?
We use a website called “doxy.me” that was built for telemedicine. It’s simple and free-to-use, and 100% HIPAA-compliant (which means it follows the same government guidelines for keeping your personal information and health records secure and confidential that all your doctors do, including us).
Since it’s a website, all you have to do is visit it on any device you wish, including a laptop or desktop computer, a tablet such as an iPad, or your smartphone. There is NO account creation necessary; instead we’ll give you a link that’s specific to Aim Sports Medicine, and you’ll virtually “check in” to a secure and private “treatment room” for your appointment.
How can telehealth help me when my PT visits are always in-person?
Your telehealth appointment won’t include manual therapy -- unfortunately, the technology doesn’t exist yet that would allow us to work on your neck, back, etc. through the internet (even though we’d love to!). Exercise, however, is a hugely important component to your visits and can be done via telehealth.
When you come to your physical therapy appointment in our clinic, we’re constantly assessing your biomechanics -- how your body moves and what is affecting or disrupting normal, healthy movement (and in turn, causing pain, tightness, and perhaps additional injury over time).
Using video during your telehealth appointment is an extremely valuable tool for us to assess your injury (especially important when it’s been a few weeks or even a month since we last saw you). We’ll demonstrate the exercises that will most help you, adding new ones if necessary and updating others. Your last “home exercise program” was designed for how you felt back in March, but may not be what you need now.
A nice “side effect” to your Telehealth appointment is that we’ll be working with you in the same space you’ll be doing your exercises, with whatever equipment you have access to. We can tailor your program and give you guidance based on the stretch bands, foam rollers, free weights, etc. that you’ll actually be using, and the Telehealth patients we’ve already seen love that personalization.
We think it’s important to have one-on-one time, even if Telehealth is a different version of your visits. These appointments allow us to check in with you, get an updated picture of how you’re feeling, and answer any questions or address any concerns you may be dealing with.
What does it cost?
Most insurance companies cover Telehealth visits just as they would an in-person session, and some insurance plans are even waiving your usual deductible and copay for them. In other words: it may not cost you anything.
We urge you to try a visit with your usual therapist. If you don’t feel like it benefited you, neither you or your insurance company will be billed for your first Telehealth visit.
Special note for our Medicare patients: Medicare has been slow to adapt to the needs of the current situation. They allow only one short, 21-minute session per 7-day period, as a “check in”. We can still use this time as wisely as possible to treat you until we can see you in-person again.
If your insurance doesn’t cover the Telehealth treatment you need, we offer self-pay options and discounted packages -- just ask!
How do I get started?
It’s as easy as leaving us a message and saying you’d like to schedule! We’re checking our voicemail multiple times per day, and returning your calls as soon as possible. If you’d like to try Telehealth, just call us like you normally would, leaving your name and number, and we’ll get back to you quickly.
As of April 2020, your physical therapists’ current availability for TeleHealth is:
- Carina on Wednesday (in-office on Monday & Friday)
- Amy on Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday (in-office Wednesday & Friday)
- Joluis on Monday & Wednesday (in-office on Tuesday & Thursday)
To learn about the most current availability, please ask! We are doing our best to work with you as much as possible during this unprecedented time.
Call (310) 937-2323 to schedule today!