Mr Arryn Mills1, Professor Stacey George1,2, Professor Chris Brebner2, Associate Professor Maayken van den Berg2, Associate Professor Chris Barr2, Doctor Christine Mpundu-Kaambwa2, Professor Annette Briley1,2, Doctor Stephanie Champion2, Mrs Mirella Kakogianis1
1Northern Adelaide Local Health Network – Allied Health, Elizabeth, Australia, 2Caring Futures Institute, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Bedford Park, Australia
Introduction: Interprofessional collaborative practice (ICP) has been identified internationally as the means of strengthening health systems and improving health outcomes. A gap exists in the understanding and evaluation of ICP in interdisciplinary services delivered via telehealth during COViD. This study evaluated ICP delivered via telehealth in two allied health community services, the Intermediate Care Service and Children and Families Service.
Methods: A mixed method approach was used: Quantitative measures were collected from client records and client surveys (n = 15). Semi-structured interviews (n = 7) gathered clients’ perspectives, and focus groups (n=5) perspectives from staff (n=20), with observation of one telehealth consultation.
Results: EQ-5D-5L scores (a measure of health-related quality of life) improved by an average of 0.171 per person from 0.422 (standard deviation = 0.565) at baseline to 0.593 (standard deviation = 0.264) at the post-intervention period but this improvement was not statistically significant (p = 0.379). Clients had a clinically significant improvement (an increase of ≥ 2 points) in both their Canadian Occupational Performance Measures (COPM) performance and satisfaction change scores (4.25), respectively.
Preliminary key themes include: 1. Focus on patient-centred care and teamwork (continued in telehealth due to COViD, patients/carers were aware of ICP and were largely happy with it), 2. Adjustments to communication (different strategies were needed and where they were applied they appeared effective, negative experiences often related to communication), 3.Value of face to face (whilst people recognised the need for telehealth, face to face opportunities were missed particularly for initial appointments and assessments).
Discussion: Community allied health services delivered via TeleHealth in CoViD can both support ICP, including patient-centred care, and improve client outcomes. Recommendations to maximise ICP include a focus on communication between clinicians and clients. Interdisciplinary team processes enhancing ICP require adaptation to support service delivery via telehealth.
Arryn Mills graduated from University of South Austral in 2006 with a Bachelor of Social Work. He has worked for the Department of Health in numerous social work roles as part of CNAHS and NALHN. As a member of the Children and Families Service since 2009, Arryn has participated as a Developmental Social Worker, Clinical Lead for Social Work and Service Program Manager. Currently Arryn is the Senior Manager for the Children and Families Service and has been participating as part of the ICP COViD-19 Telehealth in Community Services Study as an assistant researcher.