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Virtual Occupational Therapy Placement 2020

Online Healthcare: Why Is It Important?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about Online Healthcare From Service Users Perspectives, but now we are coming to the end of my placement, so to round it all off, I looked at this from professional perspectives. However, placement is not finished just yet I have 1 last blog post up my sleeve for my final week next week.

This whole placement has been about exploring the benefits of online communities to see how they can be addressed in practice. So now that we know what the benefits are let’s look at how professionals use online tools…

Yet again, I took to Twitter to ask my questions.

  1. Do you work online and how important is this?
  2. Should more health services be online?

When I say online healthcare, I don’t just mean service user contact…

“Online work is essential for my professional supervision of #occupational therapist. Saving time & money on travel, we can really drill down into issues, & create solutions, for services.”

Margaret Spencer, @margaretOT360

I agree when you are connecting with other people from different organisations up and down the country organising that takes a lot of time and energy, not to mention money on travel if it’s a while away. Whereas having this online makes your day so much more productive as that meeting that would have taken up the whole day will now only take an hour or so of your time.

Margaret continues…

“More #OT’s are delivering assessments & interventions online with very positive outcomes.”

Margaret Spencer

More and more OT’s are delivering online services, and this shows that it can be done. Yes, this will take more setting up as you are learning a new skill. But once its up and running, the outcomes can be positive. This doesn’t work for everyone but for those who can’t leave the house, this is a great alternative and is a lot more accessible.

“I absolutely think it would be great to have more healthcare services online as it increases accessibility. I think there are many opportunities for virtual/ online OT to be provided to service users.”

Annie Severn, @AnnieSevern_OT

It is a fact that everything can’t be done online, and face-to-face contact can’t be replaced. But occupational therapy is such a broad profession so surely some interventions can be done online? Not only that being online means connecting with others and experiencing something different which is an intervention itself. This is because if you can’t leave the house then you can become isolated but having a group intervention in the comforts of your own home will make you feel a lot more socially engaged.

“I am currently using telehealth. I think it is important to continue telehealth so we can reduce waitlists and see more clients. I imagine it could also increase the accessibility of the profession.”

Anna Braunizer, @ABraunizer

The current situation is a great example and shows us that online healthcare is working. As mentioned, once you’re all set up online it can be a lot quicker as you’re not having to account for travel in-between visits if you’re working in the community. Meaning that the waiting list can be reduced.

Anna continues…

“I think we need a mix of online and in-person so we can really tailor our service delivery model to what the client needs as part of our clinical decision-making. I think that having more services online can decrease general reliance on passive therapies and could give clients more control over their health.”

Anna Braunizer

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can do everything online because you physically can’t but if it’s just a quick check-up appointment there’s no reason why this can’t be done virtually. As established in my previous post online healthcare enables service users to be a lot more independent and therefore have more control over their health ensuring person-centred practice.

To round it all off let’s hear from Jo who works virtually all year round.

“I work online and always have. It’s made OT an accessible career path for me. It also means I can reach people and help them despite their (and my) uncooperative bodies. I really hope services continue to be online after coronavirus is over.”

Jo Southall, @JBOccyTherapy

Interacting online is so much easier when you have a disability as they’re so many factors that go into going to work. The social model of disability explains that disability results in barriers not impairments (Levitt, 2017). Therefore, working from home reduces these barriers. COVID-19 has highlighted this, and I too hope that people have realised how important online communities are.

Just like I’ve said all the way throughout this #VirtualOTPlacement online services aren’t the be all and end all. But it would be nice to see them to continue to be used after COVID-19 and developed for those who need them.

Thank you for reading,



Levitt, J. M. (2017). Exploring how the social model of disability can be re-invigorated: in response to Mike Oliver. Disability & Society, 32 (4), 589-594. [Online.] Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2017.1300390

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