As Grand Rapids-based Alliance Physical Therapy’s leaders prepared for the nationwide launch of its Agile Virtual Care telehealth practice, they were confident in the distinct advantage the service is providing patients.
CEO Richard Leaver explained: “We are embracing the technology that allows us to leverage a 40-year history of delivering high-quality care and exceptional patient experiences beyond our brick-and-mortar locations. We have developed a network that relies on existing physical therapy professionals and their expertise and proven clinical abilities.
“While others rely on the platform and try to build out the care network, we are balancing the strength of our practices with telehealth advancements. It is a fundamental difference.”
Patients will be able to access physical therapy from the comfort of their home and at the time that fits their schedules, Leaver said. The process is simple, convenient and, most importantly, effective because of the physical therapists who will customize treatment plans for each patient.
The standard of care, evidence-based treatment and attention to detail is no different from an office visit except for it taking place via a smartphone app, on a computer or tablet.
Agile Virtual Care will serve patients experiencing everyday body pain, movement limitations, strength decreases, a lack of flexibility, as well as those who require treatment before or after surgery. The most common areas of need center around:
“There is a full range of service and direct 1-on-1 care,” Leaver said. “As a consumer, you get more attention because there are no distractions and no one else in the session.”
Direct access to therapists can begin without a doctor referral and Agile Virtual Care will work with patients to determine any insurance coverage across the 29-state network. Virtual care reduces patient expenses by up to 47 percent and speeds scheduling an appointment by 60 percent over in-person care, studies have found.
“Our goal is to improve timely access to care and also geographical access,” Leaver said, pointing out that many patients do not live near a physical therapy center. Patients who do live near an office can use a hybrid treatment, particularly useful if manual therapy is needed.
The easy-to-navigate four-step process to regaining agility and muscle memory starts with requesting an appointment online or calling 1-844-648-0024 to provide patient information and a description of symptoms and limitations. Next, patients, within 12 to 24 hours, will receive an email with instructions to join a virtual care appointment at a time they’ve selected.
Patients enter a virtual waiting room before their visit and meet the therapist who will discuss the problem before evaluating mobility and movement thresholds. The trained, licensed therapist determines a course of care and recommends exercises and other recovery strategies.
The treatment continues at home through prescribed video exercises that give patients visual reference to their treatment, reminders to perform the movements and the ability to track their work. Future visits with physical therapists are charted out based on individual need. A typical first consultation and evaluation lasts approximately an hour and follow-up appointments are generally about 30 minutes
Virtual physical therapy is ideal for time-crunched professionals, weekend-warrior athletes who want to get back in the game and those simply looking to improve their lives, Leaver said. The virtual platform allows patients to skip steps necessary to access help.
Instead of going to an urgent care or scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician, who often will refer patients to physical therapy, there is a direct line to assistance.
“We’re really breaking new ground here with the immediate access to a robust, effective method of treating a wide range of conditions,” Leaver said. “We’re making it easier for people to live and feel their best.”