- Telehealth speech therapy enables speech and language therapists to evaluate and treat patients from anywhere.
- Many patients experience satisfactory results using telehealth speech therapy services, especially when combined with in-person visits.
- Virtual speech therapy apps allow therapists to engage with patients and deliver personalized care through convenient, accessible platforms.
With advances in video teleconference technology, speech-language therapists can now provide fast, efficient telehealth speech therapy services to clients remotely. Over 85.5% of studies have shown that virtual speech therapy has advantages over in-person therapy sessions.
Understanding how telehealth speech therapy works can help you integrate it into your clinic as a service for your patients.
How Speech Therapists Use Telehealth for Speech Therapy
Telehealth allows speech and language therapists to treat patients who suffer from various disorders affecting their speech, language, and cognitive-communication functioning. Therapists can provide these services in three ways:
- Synchronous telehealth. Real-time audio and video connections simulate a traditional in-person visit.
- Asynchronous telehealth. Patients can review stored voice clips, audiologic results, images, video, or data for later viewing and education.
- Client-specific hybrid telehealth services. Therapists can combine synchronous and asynchronous telehealth with remote patient monitoring and in-person encounters.
Using telehealth for speech therapy can work in various settings, such as rehabilitation hospitals and home healthcare agencies, to meet patients’ needs for timely evaluation and rehabilitation. As a result, patients are more likely to regain speech and language function through compensatory strategies, helping them return to independence and their careers.
What Are the Benefits of Telehealth for Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy telemedicine offers convenience and access for both therapists and patients. Therapists can treat and evaluate patients from anywhere and perform consistent monitoring while patients gain access to personalized care from the convenience of their homes.
Benefits for Therapists
Telehealth enables therapists to reach patients who are homebound with impaired mobility, unable to travel, or live in rural areas with no local speech therapist. It also allows closer monitoring of patients after discharge from intensive or inpatient services to determine if they need follow-up services.
Telehealth can significantly improve patient outcomes when family members and caregivers help patients with their daily lifestyles. It can also provide education and training to patients and families to support their speech therapy goals.
Benefits for Patients
Patients have access to a trained speech therapist, enabling them to benefit from the experience and knowledge of their provider. Telehealth visits also help patients save money on traveling to an office and the time spent in the waiting room. Telehealth is a cost-effective means for clinicians and patients to continue services, and it lets patients access necessary care from anywhere.
Does Telehealth for Speech Therapy Work?
In many cases, telehealth speech and language therapy results in positive outcomes for patients needing care. Many patients and their families receive assessment and treatment for speech and language disorders using telehealth services.
Ability to Regain Crucial Speech and Language Function
Patients with cognitive-communication disorders like chronic aphasia benefited from telemedicine treatment options such as progressive cueing hierarchies for target word retrieval, script training, and a mix of group therapy sessions and videoconferencing sessions.
These options allow patients to practice expressive and receptive language tasks on a tablet, with a remote speech-language pathologist giving feedback and guidance. Aphasia patients experienced positive results from using speech-language telemedicine. Patients were able to maintain naming skills at home with a mix of independent word retrieval practice and informal weekly videoconferencing check-ins.
Children Can Receive the Care They Need from Speech Telehealth
Children with speech-language disorders can benefit from early intervention through telehealth speech therapy. Therapists can share their screen and use messaging features to help children practice speech sounds and language exercises.
Telehealth patients showed an improvement of 84.6% under one level of the Functional Communication Measures (FCM) compared with 78.4% for children who had in-person consultations. Children achieved 68.9% of their established goals at an expected or greater level, according to a study using the Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS).
Speech Telehealth is Effective with Parent Participation
Through telehealth, therapists can coach parents in implementing strategies, provide feedback, and reinforce strategies outside of therapy sessions. Providing consistent coaching to parents can help improve children’s treatment outcomes.
Researchers found that online coaching increased play frequency among children because parents tried more play and skill development activities with their children.
Are Patients Satisfied with Telehealth Speech Therapy Sessions?
Most parents reported that teletherapy improved their children’s speech and language skills during the pandemic. Systematic reviews across different age groups of teletherapy have reported similar outcomes.
In a study of patient satisfaction with speech therapy telehealth, 84.62% of patients were satisfied or very satisfied with their virtual encounters. They highly rated provider respect and care as the reasons for their satisfaction.
Despite the positive responses to the efficacy of telehealth, many parents still prefer in-person visits. According to a 2021 study, parents saw telehealth services as less effective than in-person visits because they lacked face-to-face communication to help children understand visual cues. They also spent more time and effort resolving technical issues and managing their children’s behavior during virtual sessions.
As therapists adapt telehealth for speech therapy in their practices, it’s essential that they take into account patients’ preferences and perceptions. As part of a care plan, they can provide parents and family members with in-person meetings and telehealth services to better understand how they can help them.
Boost Your Patient Services with Telehealth Speech Therapy Software
Offering telehealth services on an easy-to-use platform can improve patient retention and satisfaction. CSTelecare, a telehealth add-on service from ClinicSource, can help strengthen your relationship with your patients and increase clinical effectiveness.
With CSTelecare, you can start a video session directly and use a clinician-created library with over 5,000 videos and PDF printouts to demonstrate effective exercises with patients. Real-time screen sharing and messaging can facilitate better patient communication and engagement.
The CSTelecare platform provides instant outcome tracking, enabling you to deliver personalized care plans on the spot. It also offers built-in outcome measures that help track your patients’ progress and document their progress.
The platform integrates seamlessly with ClinicSource’s practice management software for an all-in-one solution that simplifies scheduling, documentation, and compliance across your practice.
Book a demo today to discover how the CSTelehealth platform combines clinical practice management, telehealth, and data analytics to help you deliver exceptional speech therapy services.
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