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Abstract

Purpose: The purposes of the study are to (1) determine what barriers and facilitators physiotherapists perceive to using telehealth, (2) to determine willingness to use and (3) to determine perspectives on training in the use of telehealth. Method: This is a qualitative semi structured interview and focus group design. Participants were recruited from the first stage of the larger research process using purposive sampling. A semi structured guide was used to facilitate discussion of shared experiences and to allow themes to emerge from the discussion. Results: Thematic analysis was used to synthesise frequent and important themes. Ten participants took part in either a focus group (n=7) or interview (n=3). Nine main themes identified were split into barriers and facilitators. Facilitators were the right family, right child, adequate technology and space, and collaboration. Barriers were technology, time management, lack of physical touch, lack of organisational support, and work environment. Conclusion: Results suggest that physiotherapists working with children with developmental delay consider telehealth to be unsuitable to replace face-to-face therapy entirely but are willing to use it to provide follow up services to the right family and the right child. Physiotherapists in the study were positive about telehealth’s potential to improve services to children in rural areas. Physiotherapists said that specific physiotherapy training in telehealth was currently lacking.

Author Bio(s)

Claire Grant, BPhysio, is a clinical physiotherapist who works with children with developmental delays in Canberra, Australia. She is completing a Master of Philosophy at James Cook University.

Prof Anne Jones, PHD, is an associate professor and Head of Physiotherapy at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia. Anne has developed the cardiorespiratory/ acute care curriculum at JCU. As well Anne is a reviewer for journals including Physiotherapy, Medical Education, Focus on Health Professional Education and Internet Journal of Allied Health Science and Practice.

Dr Helen Land, PHD, is a Senior Lecturer and Clinical Educator in Physiotherapy in the College of Healthcare Sciences at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.

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