Remote Physical Therapy Anyone?

Back in 2013 Google introduced a tool called ‘Google Helpouts’…

According to an article on CNN, this instant video chat tool allows individuals to get help from live experts online.

     … the service offers professionals with advice on music lessons, cooking demonstrations and basic home repair tips.

An interesting aspect of this live video chat capability is healthcare. At the present time, counseling sessions and nutrition advice is being offered, with some individuals sharing the contents of their refrigerator to get feedback on healthy eating.

Although physical therapy wasn’t mentioned (and there is no possibility of insurance reimbursement for healthcare services provided via video chat at the present time), there’s plenty of food for thought here.

With the ‘independence at home’ initiative under Obamacare and the availability of tools like Google Helpouts, could we be looking at a shift in patients attitudes and expectations towards video chat as they look for cheaper solutions?

The line has been drawn in the sand.

Google ‘helpouts’ changed the way we seek professional services in multiple categories including (at the present time):

  • Art & Music
  • Computers & Electronics
  • Cooking
  • Education & Careers
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Fitness & Nutrition
  • Health
  • Home & Garden

Imagine hiring a plumber on Google Helpouts to get a quick fix to a problem at home, instead of hiring one.

By extension, imagine a patient hiring a physical therapist using Google Helpouts (and inevitable competitors that emerge in the next few months) to learn posture and exercise do’s and don’ts, and get an online home exercise program.

If you are located in a community where consumers are likely to use the internet to seek your help (New York city would be a prime example), consider the use of Google Helpouts, and consider signing up for this service as a provider. At the very least, it’s help you get the word out about your clinic.

Take a few minutes to browse Google Helpouts. You’ll notice that several providers are actually offering their services for free. You may want to be the first clinic in your area to actually use this as a lead generator and drive patients into your practice. Imagine a separate Google Helpout for pain relief, weight loss, injury prevention, fall prevention and balance training. All of them are provided by your practice.

The possibilities for branding and exposure are endless.

Let me know what your experience is, in the comments section below.

We are living in a new age of Obamacare, and new technology that’s going to change the way we practice.

I’ll make sure to keep you informed about everything that’s going on, so you can stay on the cutting edge of private practice.

Have a great week!

Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT

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