Date of Award
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Susan MacDermott, OTD, OTR/L
Becki Cohill, OTD, OTR/L
Erin Schwier, EdD, OTD, OTR/L
Telehealth; also known as telerehabilitation, telecare, telemedicine, teletherapy, and telepractice; is an emerging healthcare service that is utilized in various healthcare facilities with a span of ages, conditions, and locations (World Federation of Occupational Therapy [WFOT], 2014). Telehealth utilizes information and communication technologies to deliver services to a patient when the healthcare provider is not in the same location (WFOT, 2014). Telehealth can provide an online platform for evaluations, consultations, monitoring, supervision, and intervention with patients and other professionals (WFOT, 2014).
Telehealth is an emerging method of delivering occupational therapy (OT) services to various populations, including: children and youth; productive aging; health and wellness; mental health; rehabilitation, disability, and participation; work and industry (Cason, Hartmann, Jacobs, & Richmond, 2013). Occupational therapists use telehealth to “develop skills; incorporate assistive technology and adaptive techniques; modify work, home, or school environments; and create health-promoting habits and routines” (Cason et al., 2013, p. 69). Telehealth is beneficial because it increases accessibility of services, increases access to specialists and/or providers, increases client and therapist flexibility of treatment times, reduces travel time, and reduces delays in service by allowing for online consultation (Cason et al., 2013; Gardner, Bundy, & Dew, 2016; Kairy, Lehoux, Vincent, & Visintin, 2009).
Telehealth will be investigated in this project with the population of caregivers of children receiving early intervention (EI) services. Early intervention services “promote the development of skills and enhance the quality of life in infants and toddlers who have been identified as having a disability or developmental delay, enhance capacity of families to care for their child with special needs, reduce future educational costs, and promote independent living” (Cason, Behl, & Ringwalt, 2012, p. 1). Using telehealth to deliver EI services helps to improve access to care in underserved areas (Cason et al., 2012). Telehealth also promotes “inter-disciplinary collaboration, coordinated care, and consultation with specialists” who are not normally available in these underserved communities (Cason et al., 2012).
Johnston, Rebecca, "Caregiver Perspectives on Telehealth: A Service Delivery for Occupational Therapy" (2019). Student Capstone Projects. 13.