A Survey of Telepractice in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology in India
Telepractice has emerged as a form of service delivery to assess and treat individuals with communication disorders. The present study surveyed speech-language pathologists and audiologists in India about the use of telepractice. Two hundred and five (N=205) speech-language pathologists and audiologists responded to a questionnaire, with 12.19% reporting their use of telepractice to deliver clinical services. Respondents also indicated an urgent shortage of professionals in India to deliver clinical services in speech-language pathology and audiology, and opined that these needs can be met via the use of telepractice. India is well known throughout the world for the advanced application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), with 931.95 million telephone subscribers, over 900 million mobile phone users, and the second-largest mobile phone usage in the world. India has also experienced a tremendous rise in the number of internet users. Therefore, India is well poised to fully develop telepractice to overcome the barriers of distance and amplify the availability of speech-language pathology, audiology and other healthcare services. But first, the widespread use of telepractice throughout the nation will require an improved infrastructure (e.g., to uphold privacy and security); training for professionals; and telepractice policies. While very promising, the deployment of telepractice throughout India will require the attention of policy makers and government organizations.
Keywords: Audiology, India, Speech Language Pathology, Telehealth, Telepractice
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