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International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications
Volume 2013, Article ID 918526, 7 pages
Research Article

Evaluation of a Clinical Service Model for Dysphagia Assessment via Telerehabilitation

1The University of Queensland, School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, St. Lucia, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
2Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Queensland Health, Buranda, Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australia
3Speech Pathology Department, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston, Brisbane, QLD 4006, Australia

Received 26 June 2013; Accepted 23 October 2013

Academic Editor: Malcolm Clarke

Copyright © 2013 Elizabeth C. Ward et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Emerging research supports the feasibility and viability of conducting clinical swallow examinations (CSE) for patients with dysphagia via telerehabilitation. However, minimal data has been reported to date regarding the implementation of such services within the clinical setting or the user perceptions of this type of clinical service. A mixed methods study design was employed to examine the outcomes of a weekly dysphagia assessment clinic conducted via telerehabilitation and examine issues relating to service delivery and user perceptions. Data was collected across a total of 100 patient assessments. Information relating to primary patient outcomes, session statistics, patient perceptions, and clinician perceptions was examined. Results revealed that session durations averaged 45 minutes, there was minimal technical difficulty experienced, and clinical decisions made regarding primary patient outcomes were comparable between the online and face to face clinicians. Patient satisfaction was high and clinicians felt that they developed good rapport, found the system easy to use, and were satisfied with the service in over 90% of the assessments conducted. Key factors relating to screening patient suitability, having good general organization, and skilled staff were identified as facilitators for the service. This trial has highlighted important issues for consideration when planning or implementing a telerehabilitation service for dysphagia management.