GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is teaming up with two rehabilitation partners to launch a research study that will advance the use of telehealth for rehabilitation during public health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The study will obtain vital data and feedback used to shape the future of telehealth for patients and providers.
Joining Mary Free Bed in deployment of the study are Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, Fla., and Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Nebraska. Historically, telehealth use hit many roadblocks due to regulatory and reimbursement issues, but the pandemic has pushed through the necessity for innovation in patient care via virtual platforms.
“Mary Free Bed started this journey four years ago, and since then we have put processes into place to integrate the telehealth workflow into existing patient care,” said co-principal investigator Jason Peoples, director of Technology and Innovation at Mary Free Bed. “The education we provided clinicians and other staff helped when we flipped the switch to virtual services during the first wave of the pandemic.”
Virtual visits serve as an innovative means to interact with patients that reduces personal protective equipment utilization as well as decreases exposure to COVID-19. Researchers hope the study provides more insight into the widespread, vital changes needed to advance rehabilitation care. Findings will support initiatives and legislation needed to meet the needs of patients and providers nationwide.
Mary Free Bed created the John F. Butzer Center for Research & Innovation in 2014 to generate evidence-based, innovative treatment for a prompt and positive impact on patients recovering from serious injuries or illnesses.
“At the forefront of our research efforts at Mary Free Bed is our commitment to the patient,” said Michelle Bassett, director of Research Administration. “By engaging in collaborative projects with respected organizations such as Brooks and Madonna, we can combine competencies and resources to maximize our efforts to provide patients with high quality, cutting-edge processes and interventions that maximize treatment outcomes.”