COVID-19 is permanently changing our world. Even as communities begin to open back up from lockdowns and ease the economy back open, public health experts are cautioning that things won’t simply return to the world we knew before the pandemic. While the spread of the virus has slowed and curves have flattened, it’s still an ever-present threat to vulnerable populations, with the hope of a vaccine not likely to appear until sometime next year. This means that our post-pandemic world must be built with considerations for mitigating the risk of exposure to and the spreading of this and other viruses. Some of the temporary measures that we’ve all been growing used to, like increased remote work, reducing physical travel, avoiding crowded spaces when possible and social distancing, will continue to become, to some extent, normal parts of our lives. Those who adapt to this quickly will fare much better in the coming months and years than those who do not. For physical therapists, remote patient monitoring is rapidly becoming a viable and valuable part of daily operations.
The pressure created by the pandemic has dramatically accelerated this shift. Virtual physical therapy sessions help to protect people and their communities from the spread of COVID-19. By more effectively triaging patients, therapists can maintain ongoing quality while allowing patients who don’t need in-person visits to continue their practices at home. This reduces the time that people spend infrequently trafficked common spaces such as PT clinics and saves time for both patients and therapists. Patients don’t have to spend time commuting to and from a clinic for sessions that can be done remotely, and therapists are able to better leverage their time. The healthcare regulatory structure is also rapidly adapting to this new environment.
For example, The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that non-public facing video platforms like Skype and Facetime are temporarily approved under HIPAA guidelines for use by healthcare providers such as physical therapists. Insurance companies are also starting to come around on payments for telehealth. Aetna and Blue Cross have both recently acknowledged the existence of the internet and announced changes to their policies encouraging the use of telehealth. The Center for Connected Health Policy, a nonprofit organization that advocates for modernized healthcare systems, has a great resource center for more information on the advantages of integrating remote patient monitoring into a practice.
Cipher Skin’s technology is a purpose-built solution for effectively managing this transition to increased remote patient monitoring. By enabling highly accurate motion-monitoring and the automation of a wide range of physical therapy testing protocols, Cipher Skin bridges the gap between in-person and remote sessions.