In late March 2020, ATI Physical Therapy (ATI), one of the nation’s largest providers of physical therapy (PT) services, launched its telehealth platform CONNECT. As an essential health care provider during the pandemic, the new virtual platform gave patients a viable option to safely continue with their treatments.
Taking into account all healthcare providers, telehealth adoption increased 154% during the last week of March 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.1 Telehealth continues to prove itself beneficial beyond its originally intended uses and is expected to continue as a prominent means of care beyond the pandemic for the industry.
CONNECT was launched under the presumption that virtual PT sessions would be most effective for non-operative patients; patients with lower pain and disability levels; and patients further along in their recovery journey. However, after treating patients through more than 43,000 virtual visits in the year since CONNECT’s launch, ATI has learned telehealth benefits a significantly larger population of patients with a broader range of conditions and pain levels than it first anticipated. For a technology that experienced slow adoption throughout healthcare prior to the pandemic, telehealth is now widely embraced by providers in every corner of the industry.
“Patients with any diagnosis and of any age can benefit from telehealth,” said Mirette Mikhail, PT, DPT, CEIS, MTC, CertDN, clinic director at ATI Physical Therapy’s Downers Grove, Illinois clinic. “I’ve virtually treated an extremely wide range of patients this year – from young patients recovering from a sports injury to people with aches from uncomfortable work-from-home set-ups to a Medicare patient who recovered from total shoulder surgery. Telehealth is for everyone.”