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PhysioDirect: Supporting physiotherapists to deliver telephone assessment and advice services within the context of a randomised trial

Abstract

Physiotherapy-led telephone assessment and advice services for patients with musculoskeletal problems have been developed in many services in the UK, but high quality trial data on clinical and cost effectiveness has been lacking.

In order to address this ‘The PhysioDirect trial’ (ISRCTN55666618), was a pragmatic randomised trial of a PhysioDirect telephone assessment and advice service.

This paper describes the PhysioDirect system used in the trial and how physiotherapists were trained and supported to use the system and deliver the PhysioDirect service.

The PhysioDirect system used in the trial was developed in Huntingdon and now serves a population of 350,000 people.

When initiating or providing physiotherapy-led telephone assessment and advice services training and support for physiotherapists delivering care in this way is essential.

An enhanced skill set is required for telephone assessment and advice particularly in listening and communication skills. In addition to an initial training programme, even experienced physiotherapists benefit from a period of skill consolidation to become proficient and confident in assessing patients and delivering care using the telephone.

A computer-based system assists the delivery of a physiotherapy-led musculoskeletal assessment and advice service.

Clinical Trials Registration Number (ISRCTN55666618).

Cite this article

PhysioDirect: Supporting physiotherapists to deliver telephone assessment and advice services within the context of a randomised trial.    Physiotherapy - June 2013 (Vol. 99, Issue 2, Pages 113-118, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2012.08.002)Annette Bishop, Jill Gamlin, Jeanette Hall, Cherida Hopper, Nadine E. Foster

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