Ms Thoshen Kandasamy1, Dr Emma Miller1, Professor Jennifer Tieman2
1College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, 2College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Questions: Are there associations between physiotherapists’ perception of telehealth and telehealth usage? What are the facilitators and barriers physiotherapists face when using telehealth?
Design: A cross-sectional study involving quantitative survey analysis.
Participants: Convenience sampling was used to recruit currently practicing physiotherapists from metropolitan, regional, rural and remote hospitals and health services in South Australia.
Results: Sixty-five participants with a mean clinical experience of 13 years (SD 12) completed the survey. Among these participants, 47 (72%) reported using telehealth and 30 (48%) were based in metropolitan areas. Thirty-one (66%) participants received telehealth training with 24 (53%) using telehealth less than once a week. Twenty-two (50%) participants reported being able to build rapport with patients over telehealth and only 11 (25%) agreed to being able to read patient’s body language and non-verbal cues. Forty-three (94%) participants found telehealth easy to use and 42 (70%) were confident in their ability to use telehealth. Significant associations were found between perception, barriers and facilitators and employment location and telehealth occasions of use. The multivariate regression model found employment location (OR 5.29, 95% CI 1.49 to 18.79) and telehealth occasions use (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.90) were associated to having necessary skills and training for telehealth usage.
Conclusion: Telehealth users are more satisfied and confident with telehealth use and have access to resources and support. However, there is a need to increase resources, training and opportunity to use telehealth to develop and maintain the skills especially in non-metropolitan areas.
Thoshen Kandasamy is a Clinical Senior Physiotherapist at SA Health, working in the regional areas. She received her Master in Public Health from Flinders University.