Preliminary experience of allied health assessments delivered face to face and by videoconference to a residential facility for elderly people

J Telemed Telecare. 2003;9(4):230-3. doi: 10.1258/135763303322225571.


We investigated whether allied health assessments carried out via videoconferencing were comparable to assessments carried out face to face. Five allied health therapists (in dietetics, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry and speech pathology) conducted an assessment of 12 high-dependency residents both face to face and by videoconferencing. On a five-point Likert scale, the therapists' mean ratings for the efficiency and suitability of videoconferencing for assessment were significantly lower than for face to face. Their mean rating for the adequacy of their care plans was also significantly lower for videoconferencing than for face to face. However, in each case the dietician's assessments did not differ significantly between the two modalities. In 35 cases out of 60, two independent raters agreed that the therapists' care plans after the videoconferencing and face-to-face assessments were the same. However, the level of agreement between raters was only moderate (kappa=0.31). Despite the therapists' (natural) preference for face-to-face working, care plans formulated via videoconferencing were reasonably similar to those formulated in face-to-face assessment. Allied health assessments carried out by videoconferencing would therefore seem to be feasible.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Homes for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Planning / standards
  • Remote Consultation / methods
  • Remote Consultation / standards*
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration*