Occupational Therapists offer a variety of services, many of which can effectively be offered remotely. Potential uses for telehealth in the practice of occupational therapy (OT) include: consultation, evaluation, client monitoring, supervision, and intervention.
- Consultation: Teleconsultation uses telecommunication and information technologies to share health/educational information or advice. Using remote technology, the tele-OT can observe a student in the classroom unobtrusively and offer strategies so that teachers can help the child use of self-regulation skills, have more appropriate interactions with peers, or increase participation in activities (AOTA, 2013).
- Assessment: Advanced communication technology has broadened the ways that evaluations can be conducted. In the literature we find descriptions of tele-OT assessment in areas like:
- Fine motor and visual/motor skills (Criss, 2013)
- Wheelchair prescription (Schein et al, 2011)
- Neurological assessment (Savard et al., 2003)
- Adaptive equipment prescription and home modification (Sanford et al., 2007)
- Ergonomic assessment (Gallagher, 2004)
- Monitoring: Tele-OTs can monitor how students adhere to a treatment program, provide follow-up in helping them meet their goals, and respond to issues within the classroom and other environments.
- Supervision: Where permitted by law and in accordance with AOTA policy, OTs may use telehealth technology to supervise students and other OT professionals.
- Treatmeant: OTs can effectively address needs that onsite OTs commonly address, like fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and handwriting (Criss, 2013). OTs may also be able to use teleservices to help students reintegrate acute rehabilitation (Verburg et al., 2003).
- American Occupational Therapy Association. (2013). Telehealth. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67 (Suppl.), S69-S90. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2013.67S69
- Criss, Melanie Joy. "School-Based Telerehabilitation in Occupational Therapy: Using Telerehabilitation Technologies to Promote Improvements in Student Performance." International Journal of Telerehabilitation 5.1 (2013): 39–46.PMC. Web. 21 June 2016.
- Gallagher, T. E. (2004). Augmentation of special-needs services and information to students and teachers "ASSIST"—A telehealth innovation providing school-based medical interventions. Hawaii Medical Journal, 63, 300–309.
- Sanford, J., Hoenig, H., Griffiths, P., Butterfield, T., Richardson, P., & Hargraves, K. (2007). A comparison of televideo and traditional in-home rehabilitation in mobility impaired older adults. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 25, 1–18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/J148v25n03_01
- Savard, L., Borstad, A., Tkachuck, J., Lauderdale, D., & Conroy, B. (2003). Telerehabilitation consultations for clients with neurologic diagnoses: Cases from rural Minnesota and American Samoa. NeuroRehabilitation, 18, 93–102.
- Schein, R. M., Schmeler, M. R., Holm, M. B., Pramuka, M., Saptono, A., & Brienza, D. M. (2011). Telerehabilitation assessment using the Functioning Everyday with a Wheelchair-Capacity instrument. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 48, 115–124. http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2010.03.0039
- Verburg, G., Borthwick, B., Bennett, B., & Rumney, P. (2003). Online support to facilitate the reintegration of students with brain injury: Trials and errors. NeuroRehabilitation, 18, 113–123.