Hinge Health, which focuses on virtual physical therapy for businesses and health plans, is adding in-person visits. It's a nod to the growing popularity of hybrid healthcare.
A digital health company specializing in physical therapy is adding house calls to its portfolio.
San Francisco-based Hinge Health has unveiled a physical therapy house call service aimed at improving the long-term value of virtual care. The service, which will launch in Chicago before a nationwide rollout, aims to complement the virtual care platform by giving patients in-person evaluations.
“As the market leader in MSK [musculoskeletal] care, it’s incumbent on us to transform the member experience by challenging the status quo,” Daniel Perez, the company's co-founder and CEO, said in a press release. “Integrating digital and in-person care is a leap forward in bridging care gaps and reimagining a healthcare model that works for everyone.”
The announcement follows a post-pandemic trend in the healthcare industry in combining virtual and in-person services on a hybrid platform. While telehealth and virtual care saw huge increases in use during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, the pendulum has since swung back in the other direction, with patients often asking for a return to office-based care.
Company officials say the virtual platform improves access to healthcare services, allowing patients to receive physical therapy in the comfort of their own homes and on their own schedules. But many patients, especially those with back, joint, or muscle pain, would also benefit from in-person evaluations that can be more thorough and comprehensive than virtual consults.
The company, which contracts with businesses and health plans, says the house call service will include physical and environmental assessments, hands-on therapy, and guided digital setup services and can be scheduled the next day, evenings, or weekends.
The strategy might appeal not only to those who prefer virtual services, but also to that percentage of consumers who are hesitant to try virtual care or prefer in-person care.
Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, Telehealth, Supply Chain and Pharma for HealthLeaders.
Telehealth and digital health saw huge growth during the pandemic, as healthcare providers sought to shift in-person care onto a virtual platform.
The pendulum has swung back since then, with patients expressing a wish to return to the doctor's office.
Healthcare providers are now looking to develop hybrid platforms that allow for virtual care as well as in-person care.