Providence recently launched a program to expand its patients’ access to in-home physical therapy. The health system is launching the initiative in partnership with Luna, a provider of in-home outpatient physical therapy that serves patients in nearly 30 states.
During the pandemic, the healthcare industry realized that virtual care models could offer patients much-desired convenience, as well as be effective at delivering care in certain areas, such as primary care and mental health services. But telehealth is not very well-suited for physical therapy, Prasanna Mohanty, chief operating officer for the clinical network at Providence, pointed out in a recent interview.
“We know that physical therapists really need to be present in some sort of in-person setting to pinpoint the issue, deliver a wide range of services and assist patients through their recovery,” he declared.
Providence knew that telehealth isn’t a very good option for physician therapy patients, but it still wanted to meet patients where they are and offer them care inside their homes. That’s why the health system partnered with Luna, which already had independently contracted physical therapists working in the Northwest.
Using Luna’s technology platform, Providence clinicians will match their patients to Luna’s therapists based on factors such as specialty, geography and schedules.
Once matched, patients can start having physical therapy sessions like the type administered in a traditional outpatient clinic, but from their home. To ensure consistent and quality care, the same therapist will treat the patient for the entirety of their care plan. Luna’s platform also allows patients to communicate with their physical therapist and discuss their care needs between visits.
“We want to be able to reduce friction points for our patients and ensure quality and continuity of care within the health system,” Mohanty said. “That’s something that Luna provides that we didn’t have that capability for, and we thought it was very novel and innovative for us to consider.”
For this program, Luna will accept all insurance providers contracted with Providence except worker’s compensation and disability.
Providence is beginning this program by launching it in the central Puget Sound area. Starting in April, physicians at three select Providence locations in this area will begin referring their patients to Luna. The health system has plans to extend the initiative to the greater Puget Sound area after assessing the first pilot.
To measure the success of the pilot, Providence will track the following metrics: total referral volume, referral volume by patient zip codes, total visits, Net Promoter Score, patients’ thumbs up/down ratings, clinical outcomes and improvement (through patients’ pain and function scores), and total revenue/collections generate through the program.