Purpose: With COVID-19 social distancing measures requiring a shift in how healthcare is delivered, telehealth service provision allows patients to receive care remotely while adhering to relevant safety regulations. This study investigated the perceptions and experiences of allied health practitioners and their patients at a multidisciplinary allied health clinic that rapidly transitioned to telehealth service delivery. Method: Allied health practitioners (both qualified and student) and patients were recruited during the transition to telehealth across a large healthcare facility located on the Gold Coast, Australia. Participants were surveyed after each telehealth session rating their satisfaction and experience across four areas (technical, administrative and operational, privacy, communication). Descriptive statistics were used to express categorical variables and a chi-square test of independence was applied to determine the presence of any associations. Results: Surveys (n=197) were collected from allied health practitioners (n = 31) and their patients (n = 70). Overall, high levels of satisfaction and experience with telehealth among patients and a consensus in satisfaction and experience among exercise physiology, physiotherapy and psychology practitioners were reported. Speech pathology student practitioners rated their satisfaction and telehealth experience significantly (p < 0.001) lower than other disciplines. A significant relationship [χ2 (2, n = 127) = 7.49, p = .02] between student practitioners and the impact of telehealth on achieving session goals and outcomes was also identified. Conclusions: This study highlights complexities related to the acceptability and adoption of telehealth, technical aspects, and user functionality which contribute to the growing body of evidence supporting digital health technologies in the delivery and access to allied health services. In a multidisciplinary context, this study advocates for the consideration of discipline-specific issues when designing and implementing digital health services.
We would like to acknowledge the Griffith University Health Clinic and allied health professionals and patients who participated in this study.
Krahe MA, Conway M, Howells S, Roffey K, Reilly S. Rapid Transition of an Allied Health Clinic to Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Satisfaction and Experience of Health Professionals, Student Practitioners, and Patients. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2021 Jul 05;19(3), Article 9.