Telerehabilitation: Policy Issues and Research Tools
AbstractThe importance of public policy as a complementary framework for telehealth, telemedicine, and by association telerehabilitation, has been recognized by a number of experts. The purpose of this paper is to review literature on telerehabilitation (TR) policy and research methodology issues in order to report on the current state of the science and make recommendations about future research needs. An extensive literature search was implemented using search terms grouped into main topics of telerehabilitation, policy, population of users, and policy specific issues such as cost and reimbursement. The availability of rigorous and valid evidence-based cost studies emerged as a major challenge to the field. Existing cost studies provided evidence that telehomecare may be a promising application area for TR. Cost studies also indicated that telepsychiatry is a promising telepractice area. The literature did not reference the International Classification on Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Rigorous and comprehensive TR assessment and evaluation tools for outcome studies are tantamount to generating confidence among providers, payers, clinicians and end users. In order to evaluate consumer satisfaction and participation, assessment criteria must include medical, functional and quality of life items such as assistive technology and environmental factors. Keywords: Telerehabilitation, Telehomecare, Telepsychiatry, Telepractice
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