Using video conferencing for teletherapy can be as impactful as traditional in-person therapy sessions—especially during times like now when health practitioners need to take extra precautions to keep themselves and patients safe.

Beyond using video conferencing as a measure to treat existing patients from afar during the shelter-in-place period, many speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are also on the front line of treating COVID-19 patients in their recovery. The use of ventilators can put a major strain on vocal chords, which then in turn impacts a person’s swallowing, breathing and communication. So as patients are brought off ventilators, SLPs are often brought in to consult as needed.

To better support those recovering from COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases, speech pathologists can use video conferencing tools like BlueJeans Meetings to examine, monitor and treat patients in their vocal recovery by evaluating speech patterns.

Furthermore, video conferencing tools like BlueJeans allow researchers to collect patient data virtually that can then be studied in order to provide better treatments and patient care.

For those living with degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, SLPs and researchers can test a patient’s cognitive abilities remotely over video conferencing before entering them into formal programs. They can also improve their patients’ speech by testing by evaluating the recordings and patient visits to assess the effectiveness of speech therapy interventions on an individual’s ability to communicate throughout and after their initial treatment. This allows them to identify the most effective speech and language strategies for each person moving forward.

BlueJeans allows SLPs and patients to meet in just a single click—making it easy to provide care to aging patients and those living remotely. To make therapy sessions more interactive, SLPs can use the “video upload and share” feature to play back specific parts for patients during their session.

For example, the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease is actively researching the rare form of dementia called Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), which affects language. They began using BlueJeans, one of Northwestern University’s video software solution, to support their “Communication Bridge” study — a speech therapy clinical trial that connects individuals living with PPA and SLPs – and have found that participants living with PPA benefit from doing real-time video intervention sessions with SLPs. While there is currently no cure, BlueJeans provides access to care through its telehealth nature as well as features that support delivery of the intervention such as strategy videos.

Founded within Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, this data collection and research facility is committed to providing quality care through affiliated sites, conducting research on how the brain coordinates mental functions, transferring the benefits of research to afflicted patients and preparing future scientists and clinicians in the field. In addition to their mission statement, the Mesulam Center is one of over 32 Alzheimer’s research organizations across the US funded in part by the National Institute on Aging.

Given the rare nature of this type of dementia and the narrow field of SLPs suited to care for the condition, BlueJeans has helped the Mesulam Center and Northwestern University improve the education and practice. “BlueJeans has made the experience convenient for our participants because they can easily join from wherever they live without worrying about making the in-person appointment,” Libby Rogers, Project Manager, Communication Bridge says.

In addition to remote join options with BlueJeans, the Communication Bridge platform features an online calendar that patients use to access every appointment. According to Rogers, “they can see upcoming sessions listed and all they need to do is click ‘join’ and the link automatically takes them to the scheduled BlueJeans meeting.”

Beyond scheduling and meeting, another advantageous function to using video conferencing for telehealth is the in-meeting chat used for a technique that SLPs call “keywording.” Since patients are sometimes challenged by audible speech and sound, this visual cue allows doctors to communicate more deliberately. Patients may not always understand when a word is said to them but they do understand when it’s written out. So, SLPs can write a word or phrase in BlueJeans chat and then have the patient elaborate on that topic. This allows them to always refer back to the written text to stay within the conversation.

Healthcare shouldn’t have boundaries. With so many features available to support remote care, BlueJeans is proud to provide a video conferencing platform that allows health practitioners to meet with and treat patients virtually.

Learn more about how to use BlueJeans in healthcare and life sciences, and download your free trial of BlueJeans today.