Feasibility and Acceptability of Clinical Pediatric Telerehabilitation Services
Objective: Telerehabilitation has long been recognized as a promising means of providing pediatric services; however, significant barriers such as cost, payor reimbursement, and access prevented widespread use. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated rapid adoption of telerehabilitation into clinical practice to provide access to care while maintaining social distancing. The purpose of this study is to present clinical data on the feasibility and acceptability of speech-language pathology, developmental occupational and physical therapies, and sports and orthopedic therapies telerehabilitation delivered in a pediatric hospital setting. Methods: Telerehabilitation services were rapidly implemented in three stages: building the foundation, implementing, and refining this service delivery model. Paper patient satisfaction surveys were administered as part of ongoing quality improvement efforts throughout 2019 and were adapted for online administration in 2020 for telerehabilitation patients. Outpatient visit counts by type (in-person, phone, and video) were extracted from the electronic medical record using data warehousing techniques. Results: Historical patient satisfaction rates from 2019 indicated high patient satisfaction (98.97% positive responses); these results were maintained for telerehabilitation visits (97.73%), indicating that families found telerehabilitation services acceptable. Patient volume returned to 73.5% of pre-pandemic volume after the implementation of telerehabilitation services. Conclusions: Pediatric telerehabilitation is feasible to provide in clinical settings, and the services are acceptable to patient families. Future work is needed to evaluate the impact of telerehabilitation services on patient care and applications for ongoing use of this delivery model.
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