Telehealth Guidelines: COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted physiotherapists to develop and deliver telehealth services for patients/clients and whānau. Under usual operating conditions, physiotherapy practices (whether private, community or hospital-based) would have had the necessary time to develop, test and implement a robust telehealth workflow. Due to the fast pace of the pandemic, these services have had to be pulled together and implemented under a fast turnaround.

In the short-term, the immediate issue is the provision of quality services to patients/clients and whānau. In the longer term, physiotherapists are developing sustainable telehealth services, taking in to account issues such as workflow management systems, patient needs, technology, the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand’s telehealth standards, ethical and cultural issues, audit requirements, policy and practice guidelines. 

Given the recent explosion of telehealth resources now available, this document aims to bring together key documents and resources that are most relevant for physiotherapists. 

This page will be updated regularly as further information and resources become available.


Key documents

Allied Health Association of New Zealand (AHANZ)

AHANZ: Best practice guide for telehealth (April 2018). PNZ contributed to the development of these guidelines and examples of patient consent forms can be found at the end of the guidelines. 

Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand (PBNZ)

PBNZ: Telehealth resources and Telehealth Standard. The Physiotherapy Board has many useful telehealth resources that are being regularly updated. 

ACC

ACC: Telehealth during the COVID-19 response and guidance on the secure use of Zoom. During COVID-19 Alert Level 4, the Physiotherapy Board and ACC are allowing the use of telephone telehealth for patients, clients and whānau who are unable to use video conference platforms.   

NZ Telehealth Resource Centre

NZ Telehealth Resource Centre and risk management information for clinical video consultations using Skype. Provides information on telehealth technology solutions and security issues physiotherapists need to consider. 


BMS cover for telehealth consultations

Insurance cover works exactly the same way as for usual consultations, so long as services are being provided within your usual region (i.e. not outside of New Zealand) and so long as the physiotherapist is working within their scope of practice. 


Other telehealth resources

Helpful tips from University of Otago's School of Physiotherapy, who have been using telehealth for a while now in their student clinics (Physio Matters April 2020: page 18).

Southern DHB telehealth guide developed by Miranda Buhler in response to COVID-19 with weekly updates including up to date information from MoH and ACC.

The Royal Australian College of GPS has published this comprehensive resource covering all aspects of video-telehealth consultation service delivery.

From the WCPT: A Telehealth Toolbox guide on How to use telehealth to care for your patients during COVID-19.


Webinar resources   

Telehealth for Physiotherapists: Angela Cadogan on helping physiotherapists get started in telehealth. Angela has also shared further resources available here in Google Docs (if the Google document does not open please copy and paste the link into your browser).

Dr Mark Fulcher from Axis Sports Medicine Specialists has developed the following webinars and made them available publicly:

The Auckland Branch of Sports Medicine New Zealand have shared their webinar titled Can Telehealth replace Traditional Care? with Professor Chad Cook from Duke University.


Patient information

Health Navigator: What is telehealth? A brief guide for whānau is a useful guide to share with patients and clients regarding receiving services via telehealth.


This is a living document. Any comments, suggestions, updates, additional resources, please email to chris.bloomfield@physiotherapy.org.nz


Page updated 19 May 2020