Objective: The purpose of this scoping review was to identify information about telehealth and rehabilitation for the evaluation and management of musculoskeletal disorders, patient satisfaction, cost, and access as may be applicable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: We searched MEDLINE for studies published between January 1, 2000, and June 1, 2019. Search terms consisted of MEDLINE medical subject headings and other words relevant to this review, including "telerehabilitation," "musculoskeletal," "telemedicine," "therapy," "chiropractic," "ergonomics," and "exercise." This review targeted studies of people aged 18 years and older with musculoskeletal concerns. Articles on diagnostic tests, effectiveness of treatment, patient satisfaction, access to care, and cost were included.
Results: Eleven studies were included in this review. Interrater reliability and agreement were moderate to high for several assessment procedures for the lower limb, elbow, and low back. Two clinical trials demonstrated that provider and patient simultaneous telehealth were equally as effective as in-office care. Patient and provider satisfaction with telehealth were reported to be equal to or higher than for conventional rehabilitation. We found no studies reporting cost or access.
Conclusion: In the COVID-19 pandemic environment, telehealth is feasible for health care providers to provide rehabilitation services for their patients with various musculoskeletal conditions. Current evidence suggests that for some musculoskeletal disorders, telehealth evaluation may be reliable, treatment may be effective, and patient satisfaction may be good or better than for in-office care. Results from this study may help physiatry, physical therapy, and chiropractic health care providers in their decisions to implement telehealth during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Author keywords: Telerehabilitation; Chiropractic; Patient Satisfaction; Musculoskeletal Diseases: COVID-19
Author affilations: FMB, MBC, HT: Cincinnati VA Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; BNG: Stanford Health Care, San Diego, California
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