People are living longer and the need for health care is rising. One new way of providing health care is with the use of technology to provide physiotherapy treatment via the internet, and so save people from having to travel to hospital appointments. This will be especially useful where specialist services mean travelling considerable distances. Research has been carried out along these lines, to determine how technology can help patients get the care they need. This research showed that even though technology was found to be useful, it has not yet been incorporated very much in clinical practice.
Patients from all over the country attend the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) at Stanmore, a national specialist centre for physiotherapy. They often find that the trip to get to the RNOH is a challenge. We have already looked at how technology can be used to help patients consult with their physiotherapist and occupational therapist. For the purposes of the study we have looked only at shoulder problems. Some patients chose to take up the option of using a video call and others did not. Patients who chose to use a video call found that this negated the need to travel and its use greatly improved their experience.
It is important to now look at what patients like and dislike about the use of technology. From this research we hope to design a new way for patients to use available technology for the purposes of physiotherapy treatment. This will support them in getting the help they need for their health problems. Our research aims to design, implement and evaluate a technology supported consultation process so as to enable access to care without the need for repeated hospital visits.
We will do this in four phases
Review of Previously Published Research
We will search for previously published research, looking at how technology can help people with bone and joint problems get the healthcare they need. We will then look at the work both patients and staff will need to do to use this technology.
Interviews with Patients and Hospital Staff
We will speak to patients and staff in structured interviews to find their view on how technology could be used to achieve the best health outcomes, and whether or not this technology would make it easier for patients.
We will ask patients to choose, from a list of options, their preferred consultation method for physiotherapy treatment. Some of the survey options will be those using technology to support the consultation. Patients will be asked to choose which options they prefer, as if they had those options to choose from for their own treatment.
Design a New Way of Working Using Digital Technology
Using the information gathered in Phase 3 we will design a new way for patients to access the treatment they need.