remote physiotherapy image
Credit: CSP

A research team at the University of Manchester (UoM) will undertake an evaluation of remote physiotherapy consultations during the coronavirus pandemic, discovering which technologies are successful in different contexts.

Commissioned by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), a registered charity, the project is aimed at increasing understanding of the delivery of remote physiotherapy consultations and rehabilitation in a wide range of settings.

Findings from the research project will provide a clear indication of which technologies are successful in different contexts, recommendations for successful implementation and examples of good service models.

The study starts in July with a rapid review of the existing evidence.

Discussing why the CSP commissioned UoM researchers to carry out the remote physiotherapy evaluation, Ruth ten Hove, CSP Assistant Director of Practice and Development, said: “The contract was awarded after a tendering process that saw a number of different teams bidding to carry out the project.

“The research team are hugely experienced in both rehab and technology, and we are confident that they will deliver a comprehensive research project that will build our learning and understanding and inform future practice.”

In August, all CSP members will be invited to take part in an online survey about how they are using remote physiotherapy consultations and rehabilitation.

From November, UoM researchers will work with some services to develop case studies. These will include detail about patients’ and physiotherapists’ experiences, usability of technology, costs of service change and the benefits and challenges of remote consultations.

Dr Helen Hawley-Hague, a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Research Fellow within the School of Health Sciences at UoM and a member of the CSP’s Digital and Informatics Physiotherapy Group, will lead the project.

Dr Hawley-Hague will be joined by Professor Sarah Tyson FCSP, a physiotherapist and professor of rehabilitation at UoM whose research focuses on the organisation and delivery of rehabilitation services; Dr Emma Stanmore, Reader and Deputy Lead for the Healthy Ageing Research Group in the School of Health Sciences; and Research Associate Dr Reena Lasardo.

According to the CSP, the team has a strong track record of multidisciplinary research into the development, deployment and evaluation of technologies into health services and the wider community.

The UoM team will report their findings to CSP members regularly throughout the project, which will finish in June 2021.

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