Implementing Telehealth Among Occupational Therapists Working in the Health Care System: A Survey on the Current Practice and Experiences

Khawla Loubani, Debbie Rand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Occupational therapy services implemented via telehealth (Tele-OT) have declined since COVID-19, despite their well-known benefits. This study aimed to (1) compare the demographic and the clinical characteristics, attitudes, perceived usability, self-efficacy toward Tele-OT, and the factors affecting technology use for occupational therapists with and without Tele-OT experience; (2) describe the current practice and examine the factors associated with Tele-OT implementation; and (3) better understand the barriers and facilitators for implementing Tele-OT. Methods: An online survey invited ocupational therapists working in the health care system. The following measures were used: the Technical affinity-attitude (TA-EG) measured attitudes toward Tele-OT, the System Usability Scale measured perceived Tele-OT usability, and the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology measured factors related to Tele-OT use and self-efficacy. An open-ended question requested ocupational therapists to describe one Tele-OT session. Results: We included 309 occupational therapists (mean [SD] age = 39.1 [9.9]): 181 with and 128 without Tele-OT experience. The groups significantly (p < 0.001) differed in age and years of OT experience. No between-group differences were found regarding attitudes, perspectives, and self-efficacy for Tele-OT. Occupational therapists used video platforms, apps, and phones to conduct the Tele-OT sessions. Descriptions of the Tele-OT sessions were qualitatively sorted into ‘‘perceived experience’’ (i.e., satisfaction and challenges) and ‘‘factors related to Tele-OT implementation’’ (e.g., infrastructure and technology). Conclusions: Occupational therapists with and without Tele-OT experience have similar attitudes and self-efficacy regarding Tele-OT. Thus, Tele-OT implementation may be affected by other personal and environmental factors. Health care organizations can possibly use these findings to promote Tele-OT and bridge the implementation gap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-714
Number of pages10
JournalTelemedicine Journal and e-Health
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • barriers
  • facilitators
  • health care
  • implementation
  • infrastructure of technology
  • patient environment
  • teletherapy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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