The aim of my research in this area is to improve access to allied health treatment services for clients in rural or remote locations. This research will develop and test the efficacy of telehealth delivery of allied health services. A particular focus of the research is multidisciplinary service delivery and the use of everyday, accessible technology.
Distance, compounded by the maldistribution of health professionals in Australia, poses a serious threat to the delivery of health care in rural and remote communities. In Australia, 46% of the population lives outside metropolitan areas while only 23% of allied health professionals work in non-metropolitan areas. Taken together these data suggest that fewer therapists per capita deliver allied health services in nonmetropolitan Australia. The construction of the National Broadband Network (NBN) offers a potential solution to the challenges of service delivery for people with a disability. Interdisciplinary services delivered by speech pathologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists working closely together with children and families is considered best practice for this group. The NBN will allow interdisciplinary allied health services to be delivered from a distance via the internet to these children and their families.
However, no evidence, framework or guidelines exist for developing “telehealth” services for use in such complex situations. We propose to create an evidence-based framework and guidelines to inform the development of interdisciplinary interventions for young children with disabilities and their families, delivered through the NBN. We refer to these services as teletherapy.
We also propose to determine whether teletherapy for children with disabilities is feasible, acceptable, efficient and effective.
This project will be of interest to allied health professionals with experience in working with people with a disability.
The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1572