I want to start off first by saying I hope you are all doing well, and that your family is staying safe and healthy. We have been getting a bunch of questions asking why we have switched to only telehealth visits, even though under the current guidelines we are legally able to be in the office. I wanted to take this opportunity to explain why we made the decision to switch entirely to telehealth visits, and also to thank all of our patients who have been so supportive and trusting of our decision.
I think it is important to remember that when they make these laws, especially during times like this, there is also an expectation that people will use sound judgement in making their decisions. Easy example is the speed limit, it may be safe for you to drive 45mph down a street on a nice sunny day, but in a snowstorm, you may need to go 30mph. We don’t expect them to come out and switch all the signs, we are all just expected to use good judgement to keep ourselves and everyone around us safe. This is really no different.
This was a difficult decision for us emotionally, because we love seeing everybody in person and really thrive on the interaction that we are able to get in the clinic with each patient. However, this was a very easy decision for us professionally, our duty as healthcare professionals is first and foremost to do no harm, and to ensure that we provide our patients a safe environment. To be incredibly frank, with everything that is going on right now that is just not something we felt we were able to do in the clinic. I am well aware that there are other clinics open and treating patients while they wear masks, and gloves and are doing their best to wipe down all surfaces that everybody touches. The first problem with this is that I don’t think it is possible to do a perfect job there, and that puts everybody at risk. The second problem is that those gloves and masks and other equipment are in incredibly short supply, and this use of them is simply not a priority for the greater good at this point in time.
Telehealth is an incredibly powerful tool that we have been using for around 4 years now to work with patients who, for one reason or another, could not get into the clinic. We are able to determine a good working diagnosis, and begin an exercise based treatment program right away. In the past this has been perfect for people with no ride to the clinic, after a surgery, an individual who’s pain was so great they didn’t want to leave the house, or even someone who sustains an injury while sick. One of my first telehealth patients was a gentleman who strained his back, while sick with the flu. He was so appreciative that we could help him at least get his back to feel better, while he let the flu run its course. This time is no different, we are able to help people get relief, while this situation runs its course, and still protect the health and safety of everyone around.
We have been seeing many fellow physical therapists indicating that they are open because physical therapy was deemed an essential medical service since it could help keep people from going to the emergency room for things like back pain. I could not agree more, we are definitely capable of doing that, however, we can do it just as well via telehealth as in person. Will the treatment be different? Maybe yes, and maybe no, it really depends on the specific injury, but we will still be able to treat that individual, and also guarantee 100% that we are helping to stop the spread of this virus. I would hate to think that someone could go in for back pain and 3 days later find out they have been exposed to the virus.
We have a responsibility to keep you healthy and safe, and we take that responsibility very seriously. If there is anything we can do for you, physical therapy or otherwise, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are always here for you 100%, even if it has to be from a distance. I know I speak for John and Ashley when I say that we miss seeing all of you face to face, but we are having a lot of fun being invited into everyone’s home each day, and when this is all over, I will be glad to get back to the clinic, but I will definitely miss that.