Telehealth – What Is It & Is It For Me?

Can Telehealth work for me? 

Amidst the pandemic of the Corona virus and ever-changing government restrictions, it is becoming more important that people socially isolate and stay at home. To continue or establish a health plan in this time can seem challenging. However, due to Telehealth you can still have regular appointments and be seen by your physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.  You may have already seen our previous post discussing what Telehealth is (the last post) and its role at this current time.  Following on from this we have put together some more information to give you a deeper understanding of the role of Telehealth and how it may benefit you.  

Who can use Telehealth? 

Just about anyone can use Telehealth, all you need is access to a computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet and the internet. If you don’t have access to these things or are uncomfortable using them, then you can still contact us for a face to face appointment or via telephone. The beauty of Telehealth is that it can be done in your own home taking out the need for travel/ and limiting your exposure to other people.  

Is Telehealth as good as seeing someone face to face? 

Telehealth has been shown to be as effective as normal face to face physiotherapy and exercise physiology in range of areas including diagnosis, patient satisfactionreferring on to other health professionals and ordering imaging. Telehealth is appropriate for people with: 

  • Acute musculoskeletal injuries 
  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, COPD and heart failure  
  • Chronic musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis, low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, shoulder pain and ankle pain  
  • After elective surgeries such as total hip and knee replacements  
  • Cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation 

A study done on acute ankle injuries in 2011 shows us that even using telehealth your physio can very accurately diagnose and manage your condition. It compared assessments done face to face with assessment done via videoconference and found that the physiotherapists agreed 93.3% of the time with each other’s diagnosis. That shows us that your physio can still get a great idea of what’s happening even when complex anatomy is involved. 

Another Australian study in 2018 that compared face to face consults to videoconference found that physios were able to determine 100% of the time if their client needed referral to another health professional. This study also found that physios consistently (83% of the time) agreed on the requirement for imaging and recommended the same management plan for their client. 

Many clients also report that once set up telehealth is easy to use, found that consults were enjoyable, formed good relationships with their therapists and overall had high levels of satisfaction with telehealth. Clients also report they enjoy the flexibility that telehealth allows and found that they spent less money on travel. 

Summary/ Take home messages: 
  • Easily accessible via computer, smartphone, tablet  
  • Telehealth is a time/ cost effective way to see your therapist  
  • Treatment delivered via telehealth can be as effective as face to face sessions 
  • Has been shown to be effective for many different diseases/ conditions  
  • Is suitable for both new and pre existing clients  

If you are concerned about coming to see us in person then Telehealth might be the perfect solution for you.  If you would like to make a booking or have any questions feel free to give us a call to discuss your options.  

Devonport – 6424 7511
Ulverstone – 6425 5997
Shearwater – 6428 7500
Launceston – 6334 0622

 


References: 
Russell, T. G., Blumke, R., Richardson, B., & Truter, P. (2010). Telerehabilitation mediated physiotherapy assessment of ankle disorders. Physiotherapy Research International, 15(3), 167-175.
Rush, K. L., Hatt, L., Janke, R., Burton, L., Ferrier, M., & Tetrault, M. (2018). The efficacy of telehealth delivered educational approaches for patients with chronic diseases: A systematic review. Patient education and counseling, 101(8), 1310-1321.
Hinman, R. S., Nelligan, R. K., Bennell, K. L., & Delany, C. (2017). “Sounds a Bit Crazy, But It Was Almost More Personal:” A Qualitative Study of Patient and Clinician Experiences of Physical Therapist–Prescribed Exercise For Knee Osteoarthritis Via Skype. Arthritis care & research, 69(12), 1834-1844.
O’Brien, K. M., Hodder, R. K., Wiggers, J., Williams, A., Campbell, E., Wolfenden, L., … & Williams, C. M. (2018). Effectiveness of telephone-based interventions for managing osteoarthritis and spinal pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PeerJ, 6, e5846.
Rawstorn, J. C., Gant, N., Direito, A., Beckmann, C., & Maddison, R. (2016). Telehealth exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Heart, 102(15), 1183-1192.
Stickland, M. K., Jourdain, T., Wong, E. Y., Rodgers, W. M., Jendzjowsky, N. G., & MacDonald, G. F. (2011). Using Telehealth technology to deliver pulmonary rehabilitation to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Canadian respiratory journal, 18(4), 216-220.
Cottrell, M. A., O’Leary, S. P., Swete-Kelly, P., Elwell, B., Hess, S., Litchfield, M. A., … & Russell, T. G. (2018). Agreement between telehealth and in-person assessment of patients with chronic musculoskeletal conditions presenting to an advanced-practice physiotherapy screening clinic. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 38, 99-105.
Bring, A., Åsenlöf, P., & Söderlund, A. (2016). What is the comparative effectiveness of current standard treatment, against an individually tailored behavioural programme delivered either on the Internet or face-to-face for people with acute whiplash associated disorder? A randomized controlled trial. Clinical rehabilitation, 30(5), 441-453.
Shukla, H., Nair, S. R., & Thakker, D. (2017). Role of telerehabilitation in patients following total knee arthroplasty: Evidence from a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Journal of telemedicine and telecare, 23(2), 339-346.