A scoping review of the feasibility, acceptability, and effects of physiotherapy delivered remotely

Helen Hawley-Hague, Reena Lasrado, Ellen Martinez, Emma Stanmore, Sarah Tyson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: To review the feasibility, acceptability, and effects of physiotherapy when delivered remotely. Materials and methods: CINAHL, MEDLINE, EBM Reviews, and Cochrane Library databases (January 2015–February 2022) were searched and screened for papers (of any design) investigating remote physiotherapy. Data were extracted by two independent raters. Methodological quality of the identified papers was not assessed. Thematic content analysis drew out the key issues. Results: Forty-one papers (including nine systemic reviews and six with meta-analyses) were selected involving musculoskeletal, stroke and neurological, pulmonary, and cardiac conditions. The most commonly delivered intervention was remote exercise provision, usually following assessment which was completed in-person. All studies, which assessed it, found that remote physiotherapy was comparably effective to in-person delivery at lower cost. Patient satisfaction was high, they found remote physiotherapy to be more accessible and convenient. It boosted confidence and motivation by reminding patients when and how to exercise but adherence was mixed. No adverse events were reported. Barriers related to access to the technology; technical problems and concerns about therapists’ workload. Conclusions: Remote physiotherapy is safe, feasible, and acceptable to patients. Its effects are comparable with traditional care at lower cost.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Remote physiotherapy is safe, feasible, and acceptable to patients with comparable effects to in-person care. Remote delivery increases access to physiotherapy especially for those who cannot travel to a treatment facility whether due to distance or disability. Remote physiotherapy may increase adherence to exercise by reminding patients when and how to exercise. Remote physiotherapy does not suit everyone, thus a hybrid system with both in-person and remote delivery may be most effective.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Early online date2 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

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