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  • Writer's pictureMarcia Campagna

Providing Speech Therapy at a Distance

Telepractice allows SLPs to deliver services to clients via video conferencing software to overcome barriers of access to services caused by distance, unavailability of specialists, and/or impaired mobility.

TRANSCRIPT (abbreviated)

Arlene Pietranton "Telepractice is a service delivery method that uses technology, in this case to deliver audiology or speech-language pathology services, to a child or an adult who is physically in a different location than an audiologist or a speech-language pathologist and who, as a result, might otherwise not have access to services from a qualified provider." Brooke Hatfield "As telepractice allows us to move service delivery into the home, it opens new doors for family involvement."

Lara LaZear "The kids respond to telepractice very well. They're very excited, motivated and driven by the use of technology and they love to come to their speech and language therapy sessions." David Brennan "Through the years, research study outcomes from the use of telepractice have shown that both the clinical standing as well as the patient satisfaction standing outcomes are consistent with face-to-face, traditional service delivery model and that spans different ages, different patient populations, and different treatment delivery centers."

Pietranton "A key barrier or constraint to delivering services through telepractice is interesting enough state licensing. Most states require a practitioner to be licensed in the location where the client is receiving the service. So, if telepractice is occurring across state lines, that would mean that the practitioner would need to be licensed, obviously not only in the state where they're located, but also in the state where the client to whom they're delivering the service is located. So, the credentialing system is one that needs to go through some changes in order to enable and support the delivery of telepractice services."

LaZear "Everything that I did within my lesson today was the same that I would do onsite with the exception that the student was not right there with me. My students are all making very good progress on their speech and language goals. We're currently doing telepractice using articulation, language, fluency, voice; so really it's been effective in all areas for us. Telepractice has been very effective with my group therapy sessions. The kids like coming to speech together. They are motivated. They help support one another and they like using the technology together."

Joe Gent "It looks and feels exactly like SLP services that we would see when we're sitting in a classroom."

LaZear "I communicate with my teachers by phone calls and emails. I am able to check in, see how they're doing in the classroom, if they are any additional things we might need to work on."

Pietranton "Telepractice can take place wherever a client is located—in a school, it could be at their home, a hospital, a nursing facility, or any other number of settings."

Brennan "Technology has become a lot more pervasive in all walks of life. You now we have patients who are in their 70s or 80s who come to us who have already been using video conference to see their grandkids, for example. So these are patients who are very comfortable with technology."

Hatfield "When Mr. Woods began therapy he had significant difficulty in basic conversation, so he was talking one or two words at a time, but not in a conversational level and that was a goal for him. We were very quickly able to adapt tasks to meet his progress. We were able to address both the verbal component of it, as well as the written component of it, by using the structure of the computer to be able to support everything that we were doing."

Wife of James Woods (patient) "They developed a special bond that was unbelievable how she was able to get him to connect the dots and the relationship that we had just via the computer it was like we knew her."

Hatfield "Family member ability to get someone to see a clinician is a challenge. It's a burden for a lot of families to have to stop what they're doing and take a family member to an appointment. So, the telepractice availability of just simply dialing into someone's home and meeting them where they are, rather than asking them to stop and come to us, is again another big advantage of the tele format."

Pietranton "Increasingly telepractice services are being paid for. So some of the trends that we're noting are that more and more insurers are aware of and recognizing the cost effectiveness, as well as the access and quality benefits associated with telepractice. We're also noticing that a growing number of states are mandating coverage for telepractice in their broad state health service policies. Medicaid offices are also adding coverage for telepractice services. So there definitely is a growing recognition and trend to cover those services."


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