Telehealth and the provision of pelvic health physiotherapy in regional, rural and remote Australia

Kerstin McPherson, Irmina Nahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Telehealth is a way to increase access to skilled clinicians in women's and men's pelvic health physiotherapy services to remote locations in Australia. To investigate the barriers or limitations of telehealth delivery an online survey was distributed to physiotherapists who provide services to people living in regional, rural and remote Australia. The survey was open from August to November 2020 and delivered via two social media (Facebook) pages, the Australian Physiotherapy Association Women's and Men's Health Physiotherapy page and Australian Physiotherapy Rural Physiotherapy. Responses were analysed using an inductive approach to link descriptive themes. Of the 54 responses, 40 (74%) used telehealth. Three themes emerged from responses: firstly, a need for professional development in the use of telehealth to ensure the safe effective delivery of interventions; the second related to limited access to internet; and the third related to the funding available limiting the delivery of the physiotherapy services in rural and remote areas. To address the need for professional development in how to deliver telehealth safely and effectively, a joint-management approach between local and experienced clinicians may assist and increase the reach of service delivery. There may be models of telehealth to either replace or be an adjunct to face-to-face consultations. Telehealth may offer more flexible and higher levels of women's and men's pelvic health physiotherapy service delivery not previously available. However, its cost effectiveness and whether it is the best method for delivering the service to meet the needs of all the community in regional, rural and remote Australia needs to be urgently explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-70
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Continence Journal
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2021

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