In the current pandemic environment, face-to-face physical therapy visits are less viable due to increasing demands on the healthcare system, as well as the enactment of stay-at-home measures and the reticence of patients particularly those from at-risk groups to visit a clinic or hospital setting. The Salaso Health platform is a HIPAA-compliant and secure telemedicine service that allows healthcare providers to continue patient-centered care remotely, including secure video consultations and live exercise demonstrations.
Using the Salaso platform, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physical therapists can reach out to patients through a telemedicine visit and assign specific exercises during the virtual appointment. During the visit, providers can prescribe exercises based on evidence-based protocols in the form of HD videos developed by Salaso. The platform features more than 3,000 exercise videos and 260 evidence-based templates for up to 60 different Musculoskeletal conditions from early to late rehabilitation. It includes educational content, records patient adherence and pain levels, and provides patient reminders.
“We are an experienced provider of virtual patient care, and with the first reports of COVID-19 cases, we put all our resources toward helping healthcare teams adapt to this crisis,” said Aoife Ní Mhuirí, CEO, Salaso. “Our platform ensures healthcare systems can deliver safe and efficient patient care remotely, and its utilization by hospitals and healthcare practices has increased rapidly over the last couple of months. Our research and development team are also working closely with clinical and academic partners to create specialized rehabilitation resources for the expected Tsunami of rehabilitation needs of patients who recover from COVID-19 over the next 12-18 months. During these challenging times, we want to provide any support we can.”
The Salaso platform has been adopted across healthcare services in Ireland and the UK over the last few years and supported by Enterprise Ireland, Ireland’s trade and innovation agency. In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company supported many hospital and rehabilitation services in switching from mainly face to face therapy services to fully remote and virtual rehabilitation services. As telehealth was already accepted as a model of care delivery in physical therapy in Europe, many services switched overnight or within a short space of time to delivering care remotely using the Salaso platform.
As face-to-face rehabilitation classes were canceled due to the pandemic, Salaso was able to support services in delivering virtual rehabilitation classes where patients were able to continue to engage and access classes from the comfort of their own homes.
One Irish hospital that continued to deliver pulmonary rehabilitation classes virtually during the lockdown period for groups of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) found that all patients improved exercise capacity, 83% improved COPD health status, 71% improved Quality of Life score, and 75% reported that they preferred exercising at home than in a hospital setting.
The experience of Salaso in delivering virtual rehabilitation in value-based healthcare settings in Europe enables the company to bring insights in providing effective rehabilitation for both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients to its U.S. customers, including New York’s Northwell Health Hospitals.
“I found the Salaso platform invaluable in treating my stroke patients who were confined to their homes due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Salman Azhar, Director of Stroke, Northwell Health. “Using Salaso, my patients continued to engage with the regular exercise therapy which is vital to maximizing their recovery from the stroke and improving their quality of life. My patients found that the high quality of the exercise videos in the Salaso platform helped them in understanding both the importance of doing the exercises and how to perform them correctly at home.”
“Remote physical therapy and rehabilitation services are the keys to keeping people out of the hospital and safely in their own homes,” said Jennie Lynch, Senior Vice President, Lifesciences, Enterprise Ireland. “Patients needing rehabilitation after a stroke, brain injury, post-surgery, or a serious illness such as cancer, heart disease, or even COVID-19, may have limited access to rehab during the pandemic. The Salaso platform makes it possible for people to get the recovery exercises, information, and guidance they need from home.”
Jake Hargis, MPH, Vice President of Operations, discusses the use of Salaso Health at the Nevada-based Spine Nevada Minimally Invasive Spine Institute.
“Due to COVID-19, we are witnessing a rapid shift in rules and regulations surrounding telemedicine. The recent regulatory changes have allowed our practice to expand the use of virtual visits for all spine and musculoskeletal specialties, including physical therapy. The most recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) update has further expanded telemedicine use. It allows physical therapists to be reimbursed for telehealth visits and the previously allowed e-visits,” explains Hargis. “At Spine Nevada, we implemented the Salaso Health platform several years ago as an added benefit to our patients. Salaso allows our physical therapy team to prescribe personalized at-home exercise programs with HD video instruction to help improve compliance and health outcomes for each patient. As we have ramped up our telemedicine department during COVID-19, Salaso has helped our physical therapy team maintain a high level of patient satisfaction and engagement, all while our patients remain safely at home. In the current environment, healthcare providers now more than ever need to adapt to remote care to stay relevant and competitive.”