JoAnnita Reitsma and Rebecca Summer
Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Science and University Honors
Telecommunication in medicine, Occupational therapy for children, COVID-19 Pandemic (2020- ) -- Influence
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) expanded telehealth, an electronic health care service, to virtually treat patients. Many occupational therapy and public health scholars are researching the effectiveness of telehealth for all age groups or for adults only. The purpose of this study is to understand the efficacy of telehealth as a pediatric occupational therapy modality and expose variables effecting treatment quality.
I created a survey in Qualtrics, a web-based software. The target population was pediatric occupational therapists (OTs) licensed in Oregon. Qualitative and quantitative questions addressed respondent qualifications, telehealth and pediatric occupational therapy experience, telehealth hardware and software knowledge, patient demographic, and telehealth efficacy. I received help distributing the survey from The Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon (OTAO) and The Occupational Therapy Licensing Board (OTLB). Responses were collected from March 3rd to May 5th, 2022. Survey results were organized and analyzed through Qualtrics.
The data suggests that telehealth is a relatively effective treatment modality in assisting pediatric patients with reaching their therapeutic goals. Greater success rates are reported amongst specific age groups (birth - 2 years and 11 - 18 years old) and diagnoses (abnormalities in physiological development, movement disorder, noncongenital insults to the brain, and down syndrome). Variables suggested to improve treatment quality include parental involvement, provision of supplies to patients, higher quality technological equipment for OTs and patients, and more telehealth administration instruction for OTs.
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Bettermann, Katheren, "Understanding the Efficacy of Telehealth in Pediatric Occupational Therapy" (2022). University Honors Theses. Paper 1261.