The National Association of Rehabilitation Providers and Agencies (NARA) have bestowed Infinity Rehab with the coveted NARA Award for Innovation for their pioneering use of Telemedicine in physical therapy. This award recognizes the talents of a NARA member organization who demonstrates excellence in the creation of an innovation that has made a demonstrable difference in their rehab business.
The NARA Award for Innovation comes after more than three years of developing the current Telemedicine model used by Infinity Rehab. In 2009, Tim Esau, MSPT, Director of Compliance for Infinity Rehab, began the lengthy process of lobbying for legislative change in the State of Washington to allow for increased access to rehabilitative services via Telemedicine. With the legislative hurdles cleared by the following year, Joan Brassfield, PT, was able to launch a Telemedicine pilot program to remotely supervise the treatment of patients in rural and under-served areas of the state.
Brassfield assessed patient treatment through secure two-way web cameras in conjunction with web-based electronic medical records that are reviewed and charted remotely. “I’m able to instruct while the Physical Therapy Assistant carries out the treatment. It really improves the accessibility of care for the patient and drives down the operating cost,” says Brassfield.
Based on the positive outcomes of the pilot program, the Washington State Board of Physical Therapy submitted new legislation to the State of Washington in March 2011 to allow supervisory visits and physical therapy evaluations through Telemedicine. Since, hundreds of patients have been served using this innovative method of treatment.
“Infinity Rehab has helped create the opportunity for this model of Telemedicine to be replicated in all states to increase patient access, decrease cost of providing therapy and improve clinical outcomes with real-time collaboration of colleagues with their patients,” says Kelly M. Cooney M.A., CCC-SLP, NARA Western Regional Coordinator/ Board Member- Nominating Committee.
Michael Billings, PT, MS, CEEAA, President of Infinity Rehab, accepted the NARA Award for Innovation at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. this past week. “We’re excited to grow the use of Telemedicine in therapy as we expand its use to other disciplines – Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology – and in additional states.”