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  • Writer's pictureEmily Halder

What's the deal with Telepractice?

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

Some call it Telepractice, while others say Telehealth or Telemedicine. Any way you say it, it's the future of healthcare! Telepractice is the application of telecommunications technology to the delivery of professional services at a distance by linking a clinician to a client online. Specialty providers tend to be located in larger cities, leaving many rural areas of out luck when searching for a specialty provider. With Telepractice, someone in a remote area can connect online with a distant provider and never have to leave the comfort of their home. Telepractice providers do this in many venues, including their own home, schools, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation hospitals, and even in the corporate setting. There are three models of Telepractice:

  1. Synchronous: the most interactive model, when services are done in real time with interactive audio and video connection similar to Skype. (This is the model of service I provide)

  2. Asynchronous: "store and forward" when data or video is captured and then sent to the provider to interpret, such as voice clips or test results.

  3. Hybrid: a combination of the above mentioned models.

It is important to not simply use a service such as Skype for Telepractice, since this poses a risk of violating HIPAA rules and patient privacy. In my practice, I use a video conferencing tool which is simple to use and 100% HIPAA compliant with bank-level encryption.

Research has shown that Telepractice for services such as voice and speech is as effective as treatment provided in-person and allows a greater percentage of our population to benefit from specialty services. Services that require hands-on care, such as dysphagia, are preferably treated in-person at this time, unless you have recently had a MBSS (modified barium swallow study) or FEES (fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallow) done to evaluate your swallow. Another current limitation is that Medicare does not pay for speech-language pathology services via Telepractice, limiting this service to non-Medicare eligible clients, unless you choose to private pay (UPDATE June 2020: Medicare now covers all speech therapy services via Telepractice except dysphagia (swallowing disorders)).

Curious to know more and find out if Telepractice is a good option for you? Call, text, or email me for a free consultation!

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