Mr Chun Yin Ching1, Ms Priscilla Poon1, Mr Daniel Lo1, Ms Flora Leung1, Ms Rose Yong1, Ms Edith Yim1, Ms Joyce Cheung1, Ms Priscillia Lam1, Mr David Chung1, Dr Ellen Chan, Ms Esther Poon
1Hospital Authority, Hong Kong, HKSAR
COVID-19 pandemic forced non-urgent and subsequent Allied Health (AH) treatments to postpone or cancel in Hong Kong hospital settings for minimizing cross-infection. Tele-care application was boosted to curtail its impact on patients’ rehabilitation progress.
To implement AH tele-care services in a safe and standardized manner, an AH Tele-Care Operation Guide was issued. Patient selection criteria, workflow, documentation format and user resources were laid down. Meanwhile, AH professions (including clinical psychology, dietetics, medical social work, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, prosthetics and orthotics, podiatry and speech therapy) established their protocol-driven tele-care service models for selected patient groups. Various information and communication technologies were incorporated, such as consultation via video-conferencing, prescription of rehabilitation programs and educational materials through mobile application. Patient’s satisfaction and utilization of tele-care service were regularly retrieved for evaluation and refinement of service models.
From Mar 2020 to Feb 2021, a total attendance of 254,069 were delivered by all AH disciplines through tele-care mode . Utilization peaked at each wave of COVID-19 outbreak and the provision of tele-care services were gradually stabilized with a average monthly attendance of 15,743 between Oct 2020 to Feb 2021. AH applied tele-care services to different settings, 36% for in-patient, 51% for out-patient and 13% for day-patient. Pilot programs on 1) Parenting and 2) Developmental Speech and Language Disorders were launched; while 80% – 87% of participants satisfied with tele-care services. AH tele-care services will become new normal beyond the COVID era with accumulated experiences and outcome data, and enhancement of IT enablers.
Nico Ching is currently a training officer of Hospital Authority in Hong Kong. He graduated from the Chinese University Hong Kong with a Master degree in Stroke and Clinical Neurosciences and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University with a Bachelor degree in Occupational Therapy. With a background as an occupational therapist and over 15 years’ frontline clinical experiences, Nico now joins the corporate head office to help the development of various IT-related projects to streamline, enhance and modernize Allied Health service provision.