It is now 3 months that I’ve been virtually seeing patients using the Zoom platform via Embodia. Admittedly I was NOT happy about it as I would experience zoom fatigue after 4-5 patients. Seeing patients online and trying to build rapport while at the same time do a modified physical assessment was simply exhausting.
I am happy to be back to the clinic, even if it is with a mask on, however I continue to see some patients virtually. I have a feeling that physiotherapists across the world will adopt this new hybrid model of care, combining in clinic with telerehab physiotherapy.
Here are some of the advantages of virtual rehab.
- Patients are happy that they don’t have to drive to a clinic
- Patients are happy that they don’t have to wait in a waiting room
- Patients may be more relaxed in a home versus a medical environment
- Patients may feel that they have your undivided attention as they don’t see you jump around from patient to patient and be rushed
- Patient are often grateful that you took the time to connect with them while they are at home
- Patients are grateful when you follow-up by email, text or a phone call
A challenging aspect of both virtual and in clinic patient care while wearing a mask is the extra effort required to build therapeutic alliance. In the virtual case, there is neither physical nor eye to eye contact, which are both primary ways of building trust and connection. In the clinic, we can no longer shake our patients’ hands or give them a casual pat on the shoulder. To top it off, with our faces covered, they cannot always acknowledge that we are smiling.
Honestly, can you tell at all that I’m smiling in the photo?