Even before the pandemic, Eat Speak Learn's Co-Founders Chris & Lauren MacDonald were planning on rolling out telehealth for their integrated practice offering speech pathology, physiotherapy, dietetics, occupational therapy and psychology for children, with a unique specialty in paediatric feeding disorders.
Fast forward to now, an innovative and highly successful NDIS provider, Eat Speak Learn, is an exemplar of hybrid care in action for paediatric patients seeking allied health services.
Hybrid Care in Action
Co-founder, Chris MacDonald is a strong advocate for Coviu's virtual care platform, having taken his clinic to new heights with the software. Fundamentally, the practice employs a combination of in-person and virtual consultations to deliver the best outcomes for its patients. The clinic has found that nearly every service they offer can be delivered virtually with Chris reflecting that, "through a telehealth model, there are very few things that can't be touched along the continuum of care". The Eat Speak Learn case study discusses how to determine whether a better clinical result will be achieved virtually versus in person and the best practices Eat Speak Learn has adopted to achieve success with telehealth.
Chris elaborates on the features the practice use and why Coviu was chosen as the best telehealth product on the market. From the ability to white label the look and feel of their clinic, to the ability to design more efficient clinical workflows, to a range of integrated clinical tools such as group rooms and the eLr App, Eat Speak Learn's practitioners have benefited from a wide range of features offered through Coviu.
In addition, the practice has benefited from the overall flexibility Coviu's virtual care platform has given them. Chris talks through a number of scenarios where Eat Speak Learn's practitioners and patients have utilised virtual care leading to reduced time, travel and overhead costs, as well as better healthcare outcomes under a hybrid delivery model.
Investing in Patient Education of Telehealth is Key
Key to Eat Speak Learn's success is training for parents and wider support members, critical in delivering virtual care to children. Chris discusses a robust onboarding process the clinic has developed for its patients and families, understanding that planning and preparation save significant time and costs, with clear expectations set around what a telehealth appointment looks like.
As many of the practice's virtual consultations require family participation and often include activities from baking to playing games, Eat Speak Learn's initiation includes trouble-shooting tactics and a support member is provided for parents at the outset.
The Benefits of Virtual Care for Children
Apart from practitioners being able to live more balanced lives with the option of a remote working environment, the clinic has seen far-ranging benefits for its patients. Eat Speak Learn believes telehealth is fundamentally giving them unique insight into their clients' lives in a way that in-person care just can't always do.
One of the main benefits is the ability to overcome transport hurdles, as travelling to appointments can be challenging for busy families. Further, being able to support families anywhere, means children's progress remains on track, where they would otherwise be at risk of missing therapy.
The Future of Health Delivery for NDIS Providers
Apart from more education, Chris believes the positive results attached to virtual consultations should speak for themselves, encouraging NDIS case managers to recommend telehealth.
As a result, Eat Speak Learn, places a strong emphasis on reporting progress and showing value-for-money. The clinic also advocates for better and more regular communication between the scheme and health providers to streamline monetary and health outcomes. It also recognises areas where better value can be shown to the NDIS by encouraging family participation and discouraging cancellations.
Fundamentally, Chris believes that "the NDIS has provided a great framework for providers to think outside the box, be innovative and personalise healthcare." He also thinks NDIS budgets could stretch even further through telehealth.
With increased NDIS backing and more allied health providers offering hybrid care, better healthcare outcomes such as those experienced by Eat Speak Learn can be realised.
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