Why Telehealth?

Telehealth is a broad term that refers to the provision of health care at a distance using information and communication technology. Telehealth interactions can occur asynchronously or in real-time. The purpose of this toolkit is to provide resources to support physiotherapists in ‘real-time’ remote patient-clinician interactions so they can provide high quality care to patients with musculoskeletal pain conditions.

Telehealth creates new opportunities to allow physiotherapists to provide assessments and treatments to patients.

Drivers for use of telehealth:

  • Funding of telehealth in healthcare funding models
  • Growing evidence base supporting the effectiveness of telehealth
  • Technology innovation and development to support telehealth
  • Rising social acceptability of telehealth
  • COVID-19 pandemic


  • Improved access (patients have greater access to care in rural and remote areas and physiotherapists have greater access to patients across geographical areas)
  • Convenience of not having to travel (cost and time savings)
  • Physiotherapist can see patients’ home or work environments and provide recommendations or tailored treatments
  • Reduced exposure to infection during COVID-19 for patients and physiotherapists


  • Patients’ and physiotherapists’ knowledge about and perceived value of telehealth
  • Physiotherapists’ knowledge, skills, and confidence in performing an accurate assessment and making diagnosis
  • Inability to provide or receive hands-on care
  • Determining suitability of patients for telehealth (consider both condition and patient factors)
  • Building a therapeutic relationship and communication skills
  • Technology access and literacy for physiotherapists and patients

To learn more about the value of telehealth listen to this Empowered Beyond Pain podcast featuring Professor Peter O’Sullivan and physiotherapist Kevin Wernli.