Digital Health Rehabilitation Can Improve Access to Care in Spinal Cord Injury in the UK: A Proposed Solution

Keywords: Digital Health, Multidisciplinary Team, Spinal Cord Injury, Rehabilitation, Telehealth, Telemedicine, Telerehabilitation

Abstract

Lack of specialist beds, inadequate finance and shortage of skilled staff make it difficult for Spinal Cord Injury Centres (SCICs) in the United Kingdom (UK) to admit all newly injured individuals. Length of stay of those admitted can be too brief. At discharge, follow-up care is sparse and inadequate. We therefore propose that specialist spinal units redefine their roles and act as catalysts to build capacity by enhancing expertise in the wider community. SCICs can devolve certain tasks locally to less specialised units with their support, training, and guidance. This Commentary further proposes that use of Digital Health Technologies, (i.e., to deploy telemedicine, telehealth, and telerehabilitation), can enhance rehabilitation opportunities. The authors set-forth their vision for a comprehensive web portal that will serve as a primary resource for evidence-based practice, information on guidelines, care pathways, and protocols of SCI management. At any stage during the acute management of SCI and following discharge, rehabilitation specialists could conduct remote consultation with persons with SCI and acute care specialists via the web portal, allowing timely access to specialist input and better clinical outcomes. The proposed portal would also provide information, advice and support to persons with SCI and their family members. The strategic use of digital health technologies has been shown to result in cost and time savings and increase positive outcomes.

  

Author Biographies

Anbananden Soopramanien, Bournemouth University

PD PhD FRCP

Visiting Professor

Centre of Postgraduate Research and Education

Shiva Jamwal, National Spinal Injuries Centre Stoke Mandeville Hospital Mandeville Rd Aylesbury HP21 8AL
MSc (Health Management and leadership), BaOT( Bachelors in Occupational Therapy)
PGcert( PG certificate, posture management for complex disability).

Service Lead

Outreach Service and Spinal Outpatients

National Spinal Injuries Centre

Peter W. Thomas, Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, Bournemouth University Bournemouth, BH1 3LT
  • Professor Of Health Care Stats and Epidemiology
  • Bouremouth University Clinical Research Unit
    • Chartered Statistician in Statistics (Royal Statistical Society, 1994)
    • PhD in Epidemiology (University of Bristol, 1991)
    • BSc (Hons) in Mathematics (University of Bristol, 1983)

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Published
2020-06-30
How to Cite
Soopramanien, A., Jamwal, S., & Thomas, P. W. (2020). Digital Health Rehabilitation Can Improve Access to Care in Spinal Cord Injury in the UK: A Proposed Solution. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 12(1), 3–16. https://doi.org/10.5195/ijt.2020.6312
Section
Commentary