Purpose The purpose of this review is to systematically explore and summarise the validity and reliability of telerehabilitation (TR)-based physiotherapy assessment for musculoskeletal disorders. Method A comprehensive systematic literature review was conducted using a number of electronic databases: PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library and CINAHL, published between January 2000 and May 2015. The studies examined the validity, inter- and intra-rater reliabilities of TR-based physiotherapy assessment for musculoskeletal conditions were included. Two independent reviewers used the Quality Appraisal Tool for studies of diagnostic Reliability (QAREL) and the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS) tool to assess the methodological quality of reliability and validity studies respectively. Results A total of 898 hits were achieved, of which 11 articles based on inclusion criteria were reviewed. Nine studies explored the concurrent validity, inter- and intra-rater reliabilities, while two studies examined only the concurrent validity. Reviewed studies were moderate to good in methodological quality. The physiotherapy assessments such as pain, swelling, range of motion, muscle strength, balance, gait and functional assessment demonstrated good concurrent validity. However, the reported concurrent validity of lumbar spine posture, special orthopaedic tests, neurodynamic tests and scar assessments ranged from low to moderate. Conclusion TR-based physiotherapy assessment was technically feasible with overall good concurrent validity and excellent reliability, except for lumbar spine posture, orthopaedic special tests, neurodynamic testa and scar assessment.
We evaluated an epilepsy education programme based on text messaging (SMS). Epilepsy outpatients from three hospitals in Malaysia were randomised into two groups: intervention and control. Patients in the control group were supplied with printed epilepsy educational material while those in the intervention group also received text messages from the Mobile Epilepsy Educational System (MEES). A total of 136 patients completed the study (mean age 31 years; 91% Malay; 51% with an illness duration of more than 5 years). A between-group analysis showed that the awareness, knowledge and attitudes (AKA) about epilepsy did not significantly differ between the groups at baseline (P > 0.05). The intervention patients reported better AKA levels during follow-up compared to the control patients (P < 0.05). A within-group analysis showed that in intervention patients, there were significant improvements in all AKA domains with larger effect sizes (P < 0.01) while control patients also exhibited significant improvement in most domains except for Awareness but with smaller effect sizes. After controlling for possible confounding variables (age, gender, educational qualification, monthly income and baseline mean for each domain), the intervention group still reported significantly higher AKA than the control group particularly in Awareness (P < 0.001) and Total AKA (P = 0.003). There was also significantly better medication adherence and clinic attendance in the intervention group (P < 0.05). The results suggest that the addition of the MEES to conventional epilepsy education is effective in improving AKA.
Study site: Neurology clinics, public hospitals, Terengganu, Pahang, Kelantan, Malaysia
A Web-based service was set up to link subspecialist ophthalmologists with those seeking advice on particular clinical problems in ophthalmology. The service operated between countries, with centres in Malaysia, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa and Gambia seeking advice from Moorfields Eye Hospital in the UK. It also operated within country, where a rural clinic in The Gambia sought advice from the central hospital on difficult cases or cases for possible referral. Provision of Web access and training in image capture and manipulation were undertaken in each participating centre. During the first 12 months, 132 cases were posted to the Website from five of the six centres participating. The rate of case referral rose to about 12-14 cases per month by the end of the study. Overall, 24% of referrals did not use images. In the first four months the response time was 13 days, and in the last four months it was three days. Most cases were answered with a single response from the specialist. The main problem was the amount of Internet down-time in each of the locations. The main benefit was safe and reliable access to specialist advice for practitioners.
We developed a personal blood pressure monitoring system for patients with hypertension or hypotension. The system can be used to measure a patient's blood pressure at home and to transmit the data automatically to a hospital database via the Internet. The accuracy of blood pressure readings using the system was assessed by comparison with readings from a standard digital sphygmomanometer in four subjects. The measurement error for the systolic readings was 1.7-2.7% and for the diastolic readings 2.7-3.2%. The system therefore appears to be a promising means of assessing blood pressure remotely.
The First International Teleconference in Ophthalmology was held during March 1998 between five sites in the UK, USA, Greece and Malaysia. ISDN transmission at 128 kbit/s was used to reduce costs while maintaining the clarity of the presented material. Specialized lecture theatres were not available at all sites and conventional halls had to be adapted for videoconferencing. For this reason initial point-to-point testing was carried with Bristol to simplify problem solving. Thereafter, a multipoint bridge was used to connect all sites together. During the conference a number of individual presentations were given, all followed by extensive discussion periods. Special instructions were given beforehand on the production of slide material, with particular reference to font sizes and colour combinations. Full use was made of various presentation media, including slides, videos and live demonstrations. The conference was attended by over 500 delegates, all of whom were specialists in ophthalmology. The technology employed was ideal for teaching purposes. However, if used in a clinical field, it should be kept in mind that the choice of transmission rate makes certain features not easily apparent in images but they become clearer when pointed out by the presenter.
Telehealth has been widely promoted as a technology to make healthcare more effective and affordable. However, current telehealth systems suffer from vendor lock-in and high cost, and are designed for managing chronic diseases rather than preventing them.