Telehealth education and training in entry-to-practice physiotherapy programs in Australian universities: a qualitative study with university educators

Luke Davies, Belinda Lawford, Kim L. Bennell, Trevor Russell, Rana S. Hinman

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Abstract

Background: To explore attitudes to telehealth education and experiences incorporating telehealth education into entry-to-practice physiotherapy programs in Australia, from the perspective of university educators. Methods: Qualitative design based on a constructivist paradigm and a phenomenological approach. Sixteen university educators (who had a responsibility for telehealth curriculum or oversight of the broader curriculum in an entry-to-practice physiotherapy programme at an Australian university) were recruited. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted via Zoom. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed thematically using an inductive approach. Results: Three themes (with associated subthemes) were identified: (i) telehealth education has a role in contemporary physiotherapy practice (COVID-19 pandemic was a driver for telehealth education, acknowledgement that telehealth is here to stay and identified areas of focus for telehealth education and training); (ii) telehealth education and training vary substantially (content delivered and assessment of telehealth competency is ad hoc and student exposure to telehealth on clinical placements is inconsistent); (iii) challenges in telehealth education (finding space and time in the curriculum, as well as insufficient knowledge and expertise of staff, are challenges for implementation of telehealth education, however, course and subject development and/or reviews provide opportunities for implementing telehealth education and training). Conclusion: Current content and volume of telehealth education and training in entry-to-practice physiotherapy programs across Australia varies substantially. Although educators believe telehealth is an important component of contemporary physiotherapy practice, many barriers exist for including telehealth training into the curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-501
Number of pages11
JournalMusculoskeletal Care
Volume21
Issue number2
Early online date13 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • curriculum
  • education
  • physical therapy
  • physiotherapy
  • qualitative
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine
  • telerehabilitation

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