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Expanding access to telehealth in Australian cardiac rehabilitation services: a national survey of barriers, enablers, and uptake

journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-18, 06:09 authored by Emma E Thomas, Susie CartledgeSusie Cartledge, Barbara Murphy, Bridget Abell, Robyn Gallagher, Carolyn Astley
Abstract Aims Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is traditionally delivered in-person; however, the COVID-19 pandemic provided impetus for alternative offerings such as telehealth. We investigated uptake, barriers, and enablers in a national survey during the pandemic in Australia. Methods and results We surveyed CR programmes between April and June 2021 using professional association networks. The anonymous online questionnaire addressed programme characteristics, COVID-19 impacts, and barriers to and enablers of telehealth use. Open-text responses were coded and presented as themes. In total, there were responses from 105 programmes (33% response rate). All states and geographical areas were represented. The use of every modality of telehealth care (telephone, video conferencing, text messaging, and web-based) increased significantly during and after COVID with a strong preference for telephone (85% of services). Respondents perceived video (53%) and telephone (47%) formats as safe and effective for delivering CR. The most common barriers to telehealth were difficulties conducting assessments and reduced engagement with patients. Prominent enablers were increased reach and reduced patient barriers to CR access. Conclusion Telehealth use by CR programmes increased during the peak pandemic period. However, additional support is required to ensure that telehealth services can be maintained. There is considerable potential to increase the reach of CR by embedding telehealth into existing models of care.

History

Journal

European Heart Journal - Digital Health

Volume

5

Pagination

21-29

Location

England

ISSN

2634-3916

eISSN

2634-3916

Language

en

Issue

1

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)