Biofeedback in a Clinical Setting
Whether you’re a family doctor, a specialized doctor, a chiropractor, a naturopath, or a medical group, adding biofeedback to your clinical practice has many advantages. How does biofeedback work in a clinical setting?
Some biofeedback devices are large and unwieldy, so medical practitioners will set these up in their own dedicated rooms. In the case of some biofeedback devices, it’s critically important that they have a private room, as patients may need to be in a state of undress in order to set up the sensors. With the Oberon biofeedback machine, it’s portable enough to be carried from patient room to patient room, and it doesn’t require any special privacy considerations as the sensors are located in the headset.
In many cases, the first biofeedback session takes about 60-90 minutes, with subsequent sessions ranging from 45 to 60 minutes. This may impact where you choose to locate your biofeedback machine, as it may be unwieldy to keep a patient in a treatment room for so long. It may also impact who you choose to manage biofeedback treatments; a nurse with many other duties or a busy doctor may not have the time to supervise biofeedback.
Because biofeedback is non-invasive, it can be handled even by those without specific qualifications. Biofeedback does not require a doctor or a nurse, but can be handled by a nurse aide or a trained technician.
Whoever will be managing your biofeedback will need to be trained in how to use and operate the system. With Oberon Diagnostic, we provide free training and technical support to all of the units we sell.
Scheduling and Managing the Biofeedback Device
Because of the time it requires, it’s often most effective to schedule biofeedback treatments in the same way you might schedule an appointment with a doctor or ultrasound technician. Whenever possible, treatments can be scheduled in conjunction with a doctor visit or other therapy appointment.
Some medical practitioners use their biofeedback treatment for anxiety devices frequently, and they might benefit from having a dedicated biofeedback technician to run the program full-time. Some medical practitioners use them rarely, so a nurse, technician, or aide could be trained to use biofeedback as an auxiliary duty to their regular work.
If you’re working in a practice with multiple physicians, it’s important that every physician is aware of the potential uses of biofeedback treatment. In some cases, physicians may wish to settle on an agreement for which cases to refer to biofeedback and which cases to refer elsewhere; if you find that it’s difficult for your patients to schedule biofeedback sessions, it may be essential to come to an agreement with the other practitioners in your clinic.
The Financial Implications
There are some health insurers that will cover the cost of biofeedback for certain, specific medical conditions. Have your billing associate research each insurer you work with before attempting to submit billing. When health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of biofeedback, the burden of payment will fall onto the patient.
From a financial standpoint, offering biofeedback is usually extremely positive to the medical practice. Biofeedback sessions are normally scheduled 1-2 times per week for a minimum of 6 weeks; as each session is billed individually, and since sessions can be performed by a trained staff member (not a doctor or nurse), biofeedback is often a very cost-effective treatment option.
Biofeedback in Conjunction with Traditional Treatments
Biofeedback can be used in conjunction with conventional treatment and medication. In these cases, biofeedback seldom interferes with conventional treatment. However, the physician may wish to use more frequent follow-ups than normal, particularly for conditions that may require an adjusted treatment regimen as the condition improves. For example, asthma and diabetes require different treatment regimens depending on the severity of the condition; the physician will want to follow up with the patient more frequently to determine whether biofeedback has caused a more rapid improvement than conventional treatment alone.
Biofeedback as an Alternative to Traditional Treatment
In some cases, a medical practitioner may wish to use biofeedback as an alternative to traditional treatment. If the physician suspects, for example, that the patient would be non-compliant with a medication regimen (and the condition allows for a trial of biofeedback), the physician may offer the patient biofeedback as an alternative.