It’s hard to describe how much OWL Pediatric Therapy LLC has changed over the past six weeks. With the COVID-19 outbreak, we were quick to put safety first and transition to telehealth services. I have to admit, I was very nervous about this change! I am proud to share how far we have come, and the excellent outcomes we’ve had with telehealth! Read more to find out how we continue to provide high-quality care to our clients.
When the news of the COVID-19 outbreak began, we quickly changed to a telehealth model by:
- Upgrading existing wireless infrastructure to ensure quick-high speed internet access to employees so that sessions would be free of technology glitches.
- Adding a new telehealth platform (after testing out many choices!). We ultimately decided on an encrypted Zoom platform, which allows for a waiting room (no Zoom bombing!) and client confidentiality. We also have a “backup” platform for individuals who are not comfortable with Zoom.
- Exploring and adding software to our system that allows for fun, interactive, and engaging therapy with our clients.
- Training, training, training. Telehealth is the same therapy with a different modality. We needed training in this new modality to make sure we were serving our clients well. Training included courses in understanding privacy issues, delivering and designing telepractice services, and practical strategies for telehealth.
We’ve now conducted over 100 telehealth visits and we’re amazed by what we’ve learned! Here’s what we’ve noticed:
The data shows us that the vast majority of our clients are making the same or faster progress on the telehealth platform than they were with in-person sessions. We think we can attribute this to a few things:
- Increased parent participation in the session. While we’ve always welcomed parents to join our sessions, many parents are now co-treating with our clinicians. They get real-time models of how to support their child’s language development.
- Increased client engagement in the session. Let’s face it, kids LOVE technology.
- Decreased client fatigue. Our clients are often so busy! This virus has forced all of us to slow down. Our clients are less tired and more engaged when they see us virtually.
Telehealth has also provided flexibility in a way that our clinic could not offer when we were working in-person. Because in person services require a consistent “sales route” by our staff between client sessions, we were often constrained by client geography and traffic patterns to schedule appointments at specific times. It’s now easier for our staff to see clients at a convenient time for your schedule.
When we started telehealth, we started with a subset of our client population (typically, older and more mildly impacted by communication disorders). After we gained skills in providing therapy online, we branched out. What we have found is that, with the support of parents, we have been able to effectively provide telehealth services to all of our clients.
It’s been a beautiful surprise — telehealth is now the preferred modality for many of our parents and students. Some families have already asked us to continue online when the social distancing measures are reduced. And we are thrilled to serve you in the way that best meets your needs!
We are now taking on new clients for telehealth services. We can provide therapy to children located anywhere in the state of Massachusetts. Call us to find out more: (978) 496-8313.