You read over last week’s plan, you make copies, you dig out the one material that always seems to be in the very back of the closet, you set up the table, maybe even move around a few chairs. And you wait. 10 minutes, then 15 minutes. Are they coming? Should you put this stuff away? Should you call? Give them two more minutes. Maybe you can catch up on some documentation. But as soon as you start, they will arrive. Sound familiar?
It is disappointing when our clients do not show for their appointments. Not only does it reflect poorly on our productivity, but it sets them back in their progress. They lose momentum. And usually it means someone else could have taken that appointment slot. The reasons for missed visits are vast but familiar—from transportation issues to memory lapses (oh, the irony!).
Covert et al. (2018) examined the effect of telerehabilitation (or teletherapy) on reducing missed appointment rates among individuals with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. They used the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®), an intensive, 4 days per week program. Researchers compared one group who received in-person therapy to another who received telerehabilitation. Interestingly, telerehabilitation in this case was not home-based. Instead, teletherapy was conducted in a community clinic close to the participant’s home to aid in the randomization of rural and local participants.
Researchers found that telerehabilitation participants had better appointment compliance than their in-person therapy counterparts after one month of intense treatment. Treatment outcomes were comparable, except for the “reading” task in which in-person participants achieved greater gains. Reasons for this discrepancy were unclear. Overall, findings suggest that telerehabilitation may be an effective solution to reducing missed visit rates for voice treatment, especially in rural communities. It may also allow clients greater ability to participate in more intensive, multi-day per week treatment.