Telehealth Best Pratices: CMO and Co-Founder Offers Tips and Advice for Post-Pandemic Hybrid Treatments
What’s Going On
Dave Philistin of Authority Magazine sat down for an interview with Leif Dahlberg, the Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Joint Academy, to discuss the rise of the telehealth industry after the COVID-19 pandemic. Dahlberg offers quite a few insights for providers of both traditional practices as well as newer hybrid ones, which we’ve quoted below.
On the myth of “in person is best:”
When it comes to chronic joint pain treatment, clinical studies have shown the effectiveness of digital care. An RCT study published this year in JAMA Network Open showed that patients in the Joint Academy program reduced their pain by 41 percent and increased their physical function with 48 percent after six weeks. The same numbers for those patients receiving care-as-usual were a mere 6 percent and 13 percent, respectively. The idea that having a patient in front of you is the best way to give all kinds of healthcare is outdated and runs the risk of the patient not improving to the extent it could, as we saw in the RCT.
[…] There’s definitely something joyful about seeing a person face-to-face and I think we all enjoy that, but that does not necessarily have anything to do with the quality of care that’s given.
On the challenges of telehealth for practitioners and patients:
There’s a big educational aspect in telehealth, particularly when you’re treating senior citizens. We know that telehealth is still very new to some of them and not everyone will be comfortable using apps and doing video calls. […]
As telehealth providers, it’s our job to replicate that in a virtual setting and remove any barrier that comes from the virtual setting. In our case at Joint Academy, physical therapists have regular calls and check-ins with the patients and the physical therapist is able to track the patients’ progress through the app in a way that can’t be done in a non-virtual way — so really, the challenge has become an opportunity to provide better care.
On the five ways every practitioner can improve their hybrid or telehealth practice:
- Remove friction. Removing friction is key, particularly when it comes to treating chronic illnesses such as osteoarthritis which needs to be treated on a daily basis over long periods of time. […] It’s also why we’ve enabled on-demand support, in order to remove inconveniences for patients and make sure they can do the treatment on their own terms — with as little friction as possible.
- Build tools to monitor progress. […] Being able to follow and track their progress encourages the patient to continue with the treatment which, in turn, gives them better results.
- Prioritize building a user-friendly experience. […] From sign-up to starting treatment, the experience must be seamless.
- Listen carefully. […] In our treatment, a lot of the conversation is through asynchronous chat where the patient can leave immediate feedback. I think it’s reassuring for patients to be able to have this back-and-forth dialogue with their physical therapist.
- Good connection. We’ve all been there, but make sure your connection is good to go before having a video call.
Why This Matters
We highly encourage you to read the full interview, which offers a great range of advice and context. (There’s a whole section on how telehealth can democratize healthcare and empower patients in their treatments, as well as how Joint Academy runs their practice on a tactical level.)
However, this interview with such a highly experienced (and successful!) healthcare professional just proves what we at AC Health have said all along: For you to connect with today’s patients, you need to offer patient-centered assignments and exercises in a way that’s simple and convenient. If you do that, then you’ll see fantastic results and better compliance.
It’s really that simple a philosophy, with a hundred thousand different ways you can make it your own to suit your practice and your patients.