Telerehab clinic to offer physical and speech therapy remotely
The University of Queensland has opened what is thought to be one of Australia's first telerehabilitation clinics, offering remote consultations for people with physical disability, musculoskeletal pain and speech and language disorders.
The clinic is led by telerehab experts Deborah Theodoros and Trevor Russell of the Telerehabilitation Research Unit (TRU) at UQ's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Dr Russell developed the eHAB platform, a software solution that provides a virtual clinic delivered on a tablet computer to offer a variety of health services including physiotherapy, speech pathology, occupational therapy and audiology remotely.
Professor Theodoros was the lead investigator in the ConTAC project, one of the NBN-enabled Telehealth pilots that investigated the use of high-speed broadband to deliver telehealth.
The telerehab clinic was made possible by a $1 million philanthropic grant from UQ alumnus Bill Bowness, who overcame a stutter as a child to forge a successful career in business. The clinic has been established with $500,000 from the grant with the rest for perpetual scholarships to help support financially disadvantaged students.
Dr Russell said research had shown that assessments and therapy via telecommunication are equivalent to traditional clinical encounters.
“All that patients require is a computer, iPad or laptop, as well as a reasonable internet connection such as ADSL or 3G mobile internet,” Dr Russell said in a statement.
“There will be some capacity for loans for individuals and community groups that don’t have suitable equipment.”
Posted in Australian eHealth