Speech Disorders Accurately Assessed Online
> 1/21/2009 3:42:03 PM

Speech-language pathologists are frequently able to correct developmental problems or substantially restore communication ability, but only if they are able to reach patients and properly assess them. This can be a significant hurdle for patients located in out-of-the-way regions or limited by mobility constraints. A solution to this difficulty, telerehabilitation, was just successfully tested by Dr. Anne Hill.

Dr. Hill saw the potential of telerehabilitation because of the widely dispersed population of Australia, her homeland. She designed an experiment to test a telerehabilitation system developed by the University of Queensland.  The experiment involved simultaneous assessment of patients with both telerehabilitation and face-to-face techniques. The randomly assigned techniques came up with nearly indistinguishable assessments, indicating that doctors working remotely did not sacrifice any accuracy for the increased convenience. 

Other countries are already taking an interest in Dr. Hill’s work, and the Scottish Centre for Telehealth has asked her to develop a plan for implementing a similar speech-language system throughout Scotland. Telerehabilitation will likely help more people at a lower cost than office or home visits, giving the voiceless a way to be heard.

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