Telehealth by physiotherapists in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic

Physiotherapists are invited to participate in a research project being led by the Department of Physiotherapy at The University of Melbourne in conjunction with researchers at the University of Queensland and Flinders University and the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

The research project is being conducted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim that the information gathered can help in decision making around future funding of telehealth services by physiotherapists once the pandemic has ended. It is funded by the Physiotherapy Research Foundation.

The objectives of the study are to describe the demographics of a sample of physiotherapists who implemented telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the nature of the services, the demographics of patients who utilized these telehealth physiotherapy services, the types of conditions and their management, patient outcomes and experiences, and consultation features.

You can participate if you are:

  • A physiotherapist registered to practice in Australia
  • In private practice or a community health centre
  • Delivering physiotherapy care via videoconference (individual and/or group classes)

Following enrolment into the study, you will complete an online questionnaire providing demographic information about yourself and your practice. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes.

You will be asked to send an email on behalf of the researchers to all of your patients aged 18 and over who have had one or more consultations (individual or group classes) via videoconference in the preceding month for any condition and who have an email address.  The reason it needs to be sent to ALL eligible patients is to ensure there is no selection bias.

You will be asked to send out the study email again at monthly intervals until approximately November 2020, to all new eligible patients in the preceding month.

At the conclusion of the study, you will be asked to complete another short online questionnaire about your experience with videoconferencing. This will take approximately 15 minutes.

If you are interested in participating in the study, please register your interest by clicking here https://redcap.healthinformatics.unimelb.edu.au/surveys/?s=MWJKDWHXM3

This study has ethics approval through the HREC committee at The University of Melbourne (ethics approval no: 2056784.1).

Research team:

Prof Kim Bennell, University of Melbourne

Prof Rana Hinman, University of Melbourne

Mr Ben Metcalf, University of Melbourne

Mr Samuel Crofts, University of Melbourne

Prof Trevor Russell, University of Queensland

Dr Maayken van den Berg, Flinders University

Ms Karen Finnin, Online Physio

Ms Shelley Crowther, Australian Physiotherapy Association

Ms Jenny Aiken, APA Physiotherapy Research Foundation

Ms Jenine Fleming, APA Physiotherapy Research Foundation

telehealth