Telehealth: The Alternative We All Need

As it was clearly apparent, COVID-19 significantly limited the availability of exercise-based facilities, and face-to-face collaboration with exercise health professionals last year. Over the last 12-18 months, exercise at home became the new norm, and within many states of Australia, this is still the case. As a result, the incorporation and use of telehealth services gained favour for many Australians and their health care providers. So, what exactly is telehealth? 

Telehealth in the context of the Australian healthcare setting, can be defined as the utilisation of videoconferencing to conduct an associated consultation or service, where audio and visual information is exchanged in real time. For exercise physiologists specifically, this implies the engagement of supervision, prescription and delivery of clinical exercise interventions to facilitate and contribute towards achieving their clients’ goals.

 

What are the benefits of Telehealth in relation to exercise?

For the client

  • Telehealth facilitates the opportunity to receive services provided by exercise health professionals, at the client’s convenience of location and accessibility. This may result in reduced travel time and associated transportation costs, particularly for rural clients. 
  • Allows clients who are unable to leave their home to reach essential services such as chronic disease management, rehabilitation and exercise prescription.
  • Clients have the ability to interact with exercise health professionals using an online communication platform to alter or update their exercise program. 

For the Exercise Physiologist

  • Telehealth enables exercise physiologists to prescribe and deliver clinical exercise interventions, in 1:1 and group class settings via technology. 
  • Telehealth can facilitate exercise health professionals to educate their clients regarding the benefits of exercise, and to promote or implement behavioural modification and pain management strategies.

Moving Forward

With telehealth ticking a lot of boxes in relation to Australian health care, what does this mean moving forward? It is evident that telehealth plays an important role within the Australian health care industry. Despite face-to-face exercise services returning as the primary service preference for many, there are some individuals who favour telehealth services due to the many benefits. 

There may be circumstances that require telehealth to be utilized as a temporary or permanent service option depending on the considerations of need, functional capacity, and level of required supervision. This may include: 

  • A busy schedule which limits your availability to attend face-to-face services resulting in cancellations or reduced attendance.
  • Restrictions regarding attendance to a facility when unwell or isolating.
  • You and your treating exercise physiologist are comfortable with your current exercise capacity, and consider no face-to-face supervision required.
  • Using the services for health promotion and education, including lifestyle modifications.
  • Rural clients who are unable to organize transport or want to reduce travel time.

How to organise a telehealth Service at Move Exercise Physiology?

In preparation for a telehealth session, the most essential items you will require include:

  • A computer, tablet or mobile device set up (preferably with a connected visual camera/audio microphone).
  • A reliable internet connection.

If you are interested and would like to either find out more about Move Exercise Physiology’s available telehealth services, or to schedule an appointment with one of our exercise physiologists, please contact us on (08) 7081 2033. 

By Bradley Kabos