Interview: Healthcare and the Role of Technology | Jonathan Moody

Originally Published Dec 6, 2021

Can you tell us about your early business journey and how you started your business - was it always  your intention to grow to multiple clinics and franchises?

I graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physio) from the University of Sydney, and worked as a physiotherapist in clinics before opening my own at the age of 24 in 2006, offering one-on-one care during a time when many practices were double-handling patients.

Within a few years I acquired other clinics, soon realising that I offered significant value as a business educator and began providing more resources to practitioners to help them keep on top of the operational side of their clinics. Physio Inq’s footprint has grown to sixteen franchised clinics across Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, with the number still growing.

In 2016, we launched a new arm to the business after being inspired by an employee’s own experience caring for a loved one with a disability. Our mobile and community division focuses on providing at-home services for disability and aged care clients, now including over 200 mobile practitioners.

I’ve always been an advocate for allied health, but my discovered skills in business management has helped me to improve access to quality allied health for all people.

How has the pandemic impacted your business over the last 18 months?

Physio Inq provides a range of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology and exercise physiology services in-clinic, online and via mobile therapists. As an essential service we were allowed to keep operating, however, in those first months some of our clients, understandably, were too scared to leave their homes or have in-home visits.

Although Covid didn’t shut our operations it still posed the unique challenge of clients not wanting to see our therapists in their homes or in clinics because they felt unsafe interacting with people who might have Covid. The team was proactive in finding alternative ways to stay in touch as much as possible in as many ways as possible to provide solutions which clients would feel comfortable with.

Our online (telehealth) offering was a game changer for many who needed relief or treatment but weren’t comfortable seeing a therapist in person. Our therapists tackled the challenge telehealth prompted and were active in thinking outside of the box to treat clients.

As a result we retained 80% of our in-home clients which is extraordinary given the multiple challenges. Our franchisees also not only keep operating but increased their business by 30% over the past 18 months.

Can you share some tips on best practice for telehealth rollout?

Best practice for telehealth roll-out is accepting that telehealth is so much more than just a phone call or video link up. It is a full suite of online therapy solutions, tailored specifically for the client. Synchronous and asynchronous engagement, file sharing, gamification, video sharing and much more to achieve optimum client outcomes. Secondly, is investment in appropriate tech for your service providers and education for your clients. At Physio Inq we provide all telehealth customers with a complimentary concierge service before their first appointment, so

they are familiar with the platform, their device and connection. All our telehealth therapists are encouraged to explore market leading equipment to ensure the experience for them and their clients is as good, or better than face-to-face. Finally, it is treating the service with the respect that it deserves, not simply as a Covid-stopgap, but as a genuine service option to people in all corners of Australia.

How do you see the role of the tele-therapist adapting in the future?

Advancement of technology will firstly improve access to services for people in regional and remote Australia, which is imperative and our clear goal at Physio Inq. Beyond improvements in access to services for consumers, the role of the telehealth therapist will be breadth and quality of services they can provide. Tech will allow more accurate measurement of things online than in real life, for example measurement of range of motion of a joint. Or tech will allow remote measurement of vital signs, falls monitoring or similar. So prior to, during and after appointments the telehealth therapists will be able to have incredible data into the health and wellness of their clients, with more trackable outcomes.

Do you feel there are any legislation changes needed in the allied health sector to accommodate the recent changes to the care model? ie: telehealth.

Legislation changes by governing bodies to allow therapists outside one’s state to see clients from all over Australia is essential. People in regional and rural areas are crying out for speech pathology for example, but not necessarily able to access services due to archaic rules around safety checks. Similarly to this, consistent rules around Australian registered therapists being able to conduct treatment from overseas would improve access for all Australians, whilst ensuring quality.

This article was originally published on Allied Magazine.

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