Physical Therapist Guidelines for Virtual Otago Visits
When offering virtual Otago Exercise Program visits, PTs should follow their agency’s policies. These may include recommendations for HIPPA-compliant videoconferencing platforms. In addition, individual or group exercise classes can be offered online. Prior to allowing participants to join a virtual exercise class, we encourage providers to obtain signed liability waivers from participants that are approved by their agency. The waiver should acknowledge that some safety risks are possible, as is the case in any exercise class.
For telerehabilitation, each provider must investigate payment and comply with licensure and legal requirements in their state. Reimbursement for telerehabilitation therapy services is the responsibility of the provider. Please consult the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association for additional information regarding telehealth.
Virtual Assessment of New Otago Participants
When choosing telehealth, PTs can perform virtual assessments for new participants. We strongly recommend that a caregiver be present to help spot the individuals during the exercises. This virtual assessment should be done with both visual and voice connection. Lastly, participants should sign an agency waiver acknowledging safety concerns.
Virtual Otago Participants
Virtual participants should perform their OEP exercises three times a week. Also, they should walk three times a week for up to thirty minutes in a safe and appropriate location. Participants should adhere to an agreed-upon schedule and share their progress with the supporting professional (the prescribing physical therapist or the supporting fitness professional or community provider) via email, texts, or phone calls. Before progressing the exercises according to the Otago schedule, the physical therapist should conduct a virtual visit. Participants can also support each other in the program, track progress, and share successes virtually.
We highly recommend that you ensure the following before providing a telehealth visit:
- Verify your patient’s identity
- Understand reimbursement guidelines and required documentation
- Review your state practice act to ensure that you can provide telerehabilitation under your license
- Contact your malpractice insurance provider to ensure that your insurance covers care provided under telehealth
- Use a HIPAA-compliant telehealth interface (Currently, many insurance companies are loosening this requirement, but it will not stay that way; planning now can be beneficial)
- Review an informed consent form with the participants then have them sign it
Things to ensure are in place for a successful telehealth visit:
- Participant access to a visual and voice interface with the provider
- Available wireless services with good connectivity
- A suitable environment at home to complete the activities
Below are resources to support those who are exercising at home: