Internet based Telehealth in Speech Pathology: Results of Preliminary Trials

L. Wilson, L. McAllister, J. Atkinson, and P. Sefton (Australia)


underserviced communities, web-based internet, video conferencing


The emergence of videoconferencing for delivery of health services has been welcomed by governments and health providers around the world as a potential solution to the problem of providing accessible services to rural populations. In Australia, videoconferencing is used extensively in the medical and mental health domains to deliver and support specialist services to rural areas. Their use for delivery of speech pathology appears to be less common. Thus, the current authors are investigating a range of internet communication services for provision of telespeech pathology. This paper presents the results of preliminary investigations, using action research, which assessed the adequacy of desktop videoconferencing for simulated speech pathology interactions under controlled, laboratory conditions. In so doing, it describes a partnership of two disparate knowledge bases, clinical and technical knowledge, which are being combined to solve the problem of providing speech pathology services to unserved and underserved populations. At a bandwidth of 115K, videoconferences were found to be inadequate for some speech pathology interactions. Future research directions are therefore suggested, including investigation of streaming to support desktop videoconference interactions, and speech pathology interactions via videoconferences using faster, ADSL connections.

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