Development and implementation of a multi-disciplinary training package to improve the confidence and competence of clinicians in the use of Telepractice for outpatient services

Mr Michael Harris1, Ms Naomi Scolari2, Mr Denis Morton2, Ms Sarah Fulton1, Ms Rachel Domalewski1, Dr Laurelie Wishart3, Ms Kelly Hale1, Professor Elizabeth Ward4

1Metro South Health – Bayside Health Network, Cleveland, Brisbane, Australia, 2Metro South Health – Chronic Disease Service, Brisbane, Australia, 3Metro South Health – Allied Health, Brisbane, Australia, 4Centre for Functioning & Health Research, Brisbane, Australia

The integration of telepractice into aspects of routine clinical care remains limited despite technological advances and policy changes, substantial investment, and a growing literature base. Appropriate education and training has shown to be integral to the success and uptake of telepractice, especially for patient related interventions. Staff confidence and perceptions are also integral to the successful implementation of telepractice, as clinicians are responsible for promoting the use of telehealth by selecting and referring suitable patients.

The ultimate objective of this work is to support and promote the uptake of telepractice service delivery models to provide services to outpatients, and to develop a sustainable and skilled health workforce with a positive culture towards telepractice models of care in the future.

The aim of the current project is to develop, implement and evaluate a telepractice training package for clinicians at Redland Hospital.

Telepractice training has been delivered to staff across 3 teams: Chronic Disease, Physiotherapy and Speech Pathology. The training has consisted of:

  • An introductory PowerPoint presentation
  • Self-paced online training
  • Access to a training manual and printed resources
  • Practical demonstrations
  • Clinical simulations

Pre- and post-training surveys were used to measure change in clinicians’ perceived skill, confidence and perceptions using telepractice for outpatient related activities. The pre- and post-comparisons collected from the clinician surveys were analysed using non-parametric Wilcoxon signed-rank tests.

Statistically significant (p<0.001) increases in perceived knowledge were seen post-training as well as significant increases in confidence for both clinical and non-clinical use of videoconferencing post-training.

Results to date suggest that a telepractice training package is an effective method of developing and sustaining staff skill, knowledge and confidence in the use of telepractice. This research will further evaluate whether this translates into increased uptake of videoconferencing-based telepractice service delivery.

The preliminary results suggest that a comprehensive and varied training package is effective in increasing perceived skills and knowledge and increasing confidence for both clinical and non-clinical uses of videoconferencing. We are yet to determine whether this translates to increased use of videoconferencing 6 months post-training, which will be measured in the final phase of this project.


Michael is the Director of Physiotherapy & Podiatry, Bayside Health Services. The Bayside Health Service is part of the Metro South Hospital and Health Service and includes Redland Hospital, Wynnum-Manly Community Health Centre, Gundu-Pa and the Marie Rose Centre on North Stradbroke Island.

Michael has an interest in the utilisation of telehealth to improve access to services for clients of the Bayside Health Service with a particular focus on those that live on the Moreton Bay Islands.

Michael is presenting today on behalf of a multidisciplinary research team led by Principal Investigator, Denis Morton (Chronic Disease Team Leader, Redland Hospital). Other co-investigators include Ms Sarah Fulton (Speech Pathologist), Ms Kelly Hale (Speech Pathologist), Ms Rachel Domalewski (Physiotherapist), Ms Naomi Scolari (Dietitian), Dr Laurelie Wall (Research Workforce Development Officer) and Professor Elizabeth Ward (Professor, Centre for Functioning & Health Research).

NAHC Conferences

2007, Hobart (7th NAHC)

2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

2012, Canberra (9th NAHC)

2013, Brisbane (10th NAHC)

2015, Melbourne (11th NAHC)

2017, Sydney (12th NAHC)

2019, Brisbane (13th NAHC)

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