Significant advancements in the usage and administration of assistive technology in telehealth have been noted throughout recent literature. As discussed earlier, AT devices used via telehealth can exist in numerous forms to assist with individualized needs to support everyday living, as well as monitor the care and safety of patients. Although telehealth is not a new method of service delivery, today’s society has experienced a spike in its use nationwide. With this, there is limited research on telehealth as a whole, and even less research of its applications combined with assistive technology. With the various types of assistive technologies that exist, there is not enough research discussing each type of device and how it can be beneficial or disadvantageous in therapy. Knowing this information is important for deciding which technology is a good fit for clients, as well as what method of delivery provides the best outcome when a client is learning how to use the technology.
Importance of Education
Many individuals utilize assistive technologies, thus making it important to consider when reflecting on services between clinicians and clients over telepractice. It is highly recommended for clinicians to become familiar with AT and get the appropriate training so that they are in line with ‘best’ practices within their specific field of telehealth. Providing services without appropriate training means providing inadequate services, or treatment that does not follow ASHA’s Code of Ethics in regard to best practice. ASHA’s code discusses appropriate training in regards to their clients diagnosis, AT device, and the treatment itself. Another ethical concern of telehealth includes the validity and reliability of assessments and intervention, especially in AAC use. It is a clinician’s duty to abide by the code of ethics found in their profession. All disciplines have a code of ethics, no matter what field they specialize in, making ethics a prominent factor in providing any type of treatment or intervention. In the end, the main focus remains on the individuals receiving treatment, so it is our job to ensure they receive the most appropriate treatment in respect to their specific wants, needs, and current situation.
Future Research to be Conducted
Although a tremendous amount of technological advancements have been made in the field of telehealth, research needs to focus on the various types of AT devices and how they may positively or negatively influence users when combined with telehealth. For example, there is still research to be completed about the range of activities that can be used in combination with the E-servant, as well as the overall effectiveness of the device relating to quality of life for patients (Picking et al., 2014). With there being a vast amount of technology in the world, this may provide challenges in the ability to reach one conclusive answer regarding the effectiveness when these two technologies are combined. Though, with future research utilizing AT devices in the field of telehealth, the possibilities are endless.