Kaizen Physiotherapy Group goes virtual with help of Digital Main Street
Physiotherapy is an inherently physical thing – it requires a one-to-one connection between the client and a physiotherapist, a hands-on approach. Or so it seems. But as Rosa Maria Echevarria, owner of Kaizen Physiotherapy Group in Etobicoke has learned amidst the pandemic, it can be whatever you make it.
Echevarria has been working alongside Digital Main Street, a program which combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario and the Ontario BIA Association to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities, for a couple of years with a focus on Kaizen Pilates – a physical therapy geared studio attached to the clinic itself. They’d built a Facebook presence and added an app for booking classes online.
But with the government legislated closure of non-essential or elective services by regulated healthcare providers until further notice, Echevarria was forced to shutter both sides of the business.
“I’m so scared of computers,” admits Echevarria with a laugh. So those first three weeks were tough. She knew the pilates could be done virtually and she’d seen other physiotherapists doing virtual physio and but the concept of it was so daunting. She knew she had to do something.
Since 2002, Echevarria has been working with individuals suffering from complex orthopedic and neurological injuries. “I started to worry because after three weeks, whatever I give them has to be updated.”
So she reignited her conversation with the team at Digital Main Street to look at how to introduce teleconsultations and virtual physio exercise videos to provide care for however long the pandemic was going to last. Together, they implemented a system.
“We can actually record the session so then I forward it to them because I only see them once or twice a week,” she says. “They can use the session that we did as a model and do the exercise with the caregivers support or their wife or husband.”
Echevarria says the combination of virtual therapy through the clinic and virtual classes through the pilates studio have helped them “maintain their business.”
“We’ve been able to keep our business thanks to this… otherwise it would be really in big trouble,” she says.
Going forward Kaizen Physiotherapy Group plans to implement digital appointment booking and new infrastructure to streamline interactions with patients. She applied for and received the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant from Digital Main Street. “We are planning to really grow with this,” she says. “I'm really excited about getting this website going and to do more online – (being able) to pay online, to book online, to buy stuff online, I think that's it's gonna make our life so much easier.”
She says it’s clear clients want that option. “People want to have things that are simple and fast and that they can just get there… I guess if they don't get to book, they go to another site and then if they can book they always book.”
Written by Andrew Seale
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
This case study was completed during a prior expansion of DMS in partnership with the Province of Ontario and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In June 2020, a $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19.