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Leading Rehabilitation Providers Partner in Key Telehealth Research Study in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic | NEWS-Line for Healthcare Professionals

Leading Rehabilitation Providers Partner in Key Telehealth Research Study in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic


Brooks Rehabilitation is pleased to announce the launch of an essential research study that will advance the use of telehealth for rehabilitation in response to public health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Partners Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital complete the team of leading rehabilitation providers supporting the creation and deployment of the study, with the goal to obtain vital data and feedback that will be used to shape the future of telehealth for patients and providers.

COVID-19 has been a catalyst to many changes in healthcare, including the expansion of telehealth in rehabilitation.

"This virus has been a catalyst to many changes in all of healthcare, including the expansion of virtual visits via telehealth. The study will focus on the experiences of rehabilitation patients and providers during the pandemic and will further inform how telehealth rehab services are performed in the future," said Dr. Raine Osborne, Director of Research at Brooks Rehabilitation and study principal investigator.

Without the ability to treat patients in person, the continuity of patient care has been put at risk. Rehabilitation professionals express concern over the loss of vital touch points needed to facilitate patient treatment and progress, as barriers like a lack of appropriate technology or access to telehealth portals prove to be immediate hurdles. Historically, telehealth has hit a myriad of roadblocks due to regulatory and reimbursement issues. The pandemic has pushed through the necessity for innovation in patient care via virtual platforms, and this timely study will provide insight into the widespread, vital changes needed in order to continue to advance rehabilitation care.

"Many previously perceived barriers of telehealth have become invalidated, and patients and providers are seeing benefits of these services. Virtual services will continue to become an expectation of innovative healthcare and provide consumers with the access and convenience that they are looking for from their healthcare services," said Emily Rumery, study co-investigator, OTD and Virtual Services Coordinator for Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals.

Virtual visits serve as an innovative means to interact with patients in a way that reduces PPE utilization amid a national shortage, as well as reduces exposure to COVID-19. Information gleaned from the study will further elevate safety for patients and providers, as well as build on the foundational methods for virtual care facilities like Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital have been working on in recent years.

"Since we started on this journey 4 years ago, we put processes in place to integrate telehealth workflow into existing patient care so it did not become 'one more thing;' we wanted to reduce the stigma of that right out the gate. It's something that was very important to us. We created an efficiency within the workflow. The education we provided the clinicians and the medical staff as well as patient service coordinators was something that really helped when we flipped the switch to go all virtual. We had the foundation already there," said Jason Peoples, HB, co-principal investigator, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

Results will provide essential information that will help drive the creation of telehealth resources for patients and shape the way telehealth is executed in rehabilitation. In addition findings will support initiatives and legislation needed in order to meet the needs of patients and providers nationwide.

The survey will target rehabilitation patients and providers who have received and delivered care since the pandemic was first declared by President Trump on March 11, 2020. Data is anticipated to be available early 2021.

About Brooks Rehabilitation

For 50 years, Brooks Rehabilitation, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., has been a comprehensive source for physical rehabilitation services. As a nonprofit organization, Brooks operates one of the nation's largest inpatient rehabilitation hospitals in the U.S. with 160 beds, one of the region's largest home healthcare agencies, over 40 outpatient therapy clinics, a Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation in partnership with Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, the Brooks Rehabilitation Medical Group, two skilled nursing facilities, assisted living and memory care. For more information, visit brooksrehab.org

About Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited, rehabilitation hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since 1891, Mary Free Bed has restored hope and freedom through rehabilitation for children and adults with brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple traumas, amputations, cancer and other diagnoses. For more information, visit maryfreebed.com

About Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital
Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals offers world-class physical and medical rehabilitation and research. Specializing in brain and spinal cord trauma, stroke and neurological conditions for adults and children, Madonna takes the most medically complex cases. Learn more at madonna.org.

Source: Brooks Rehabilitation

Pictured: Kenneth Ngo, MD, Medical Director and board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, Fla., conducts telehealth visits with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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