Telehealth and ergonomics: a pilot study

Technol Health Care. 2012;20(5):445-58. doi: 10.3233/THC-2012-0692.


Objectives: As an emerging model of health care delivery, telehealth has the potential to provide individuals living in remote regions with access to health care services that are otherwise not available. This paper provides a review of the feasibility, comparative effectiveness, cost effectiveness, client and clinician satisfaction, and the barriers to providing telehealth services. A proof-of-concept study that examined the feasibility of telehealth-based ergonomic assessment and intervention is included in this paper to demonstrate the application of telehealth in occupational therapy and ergonomics.

Methods: Ten computer users received a telehealth ergonomic assessment and intervention for their computer workstations via the Telerehabilitation Computer Ergonomics System (tele-CES) - a platform for computer users to access web-based assessments and to communicate with researchers via tele-conferencing. The tele-CES was used to assess participants' computer workstations and pain and comfort levels at baseline and at 4-month follow-up. Ergonomic recommendations were also provided via the tele-CES.

Results: Although there was no significant improvement in pain and comfort for participants, a high rate of compliance with ergonomic recommendations - 88% of all recommendations - was observed.

Conclusion: Further research examining the comparative effectiveness of telehealth ergonomic assessment and intervention relative to in-person ergonomic assessment and intervention is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia / etiology
  • Arthralgia / prevention & control*
  • Arthralgia / therapy
  • Boston
  • Computer Systems / standards
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Ergonomics / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Occupational Therapy / economics
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Occupational Therapy / trends
  • Pilot Projects
  • Telemedicine / economics
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Telemedicine / trends
  • User-Computer Interface