Research to Advocate for Exercise Physiology Telehealth Services

Recently Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) shared an expression of interest to support a research project for up to two publications associated with telehealth and exercise physiology services.

The aim was to increase advocacy efforts to retain relevant telehealth Item numbers for exercise physiology services supported by the Federal Government and Private Health Insurers. Research projects to demonstrate that the professional practise of Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) are crucial to evidentially demonstrate the need for ongoing support for AEP services.

ESSA is proud to announce the research project titled “Investigation of the clinical and cost-effectiveness, acceptability and feasibility of telehealth services delivered by Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) during and after COVID-19” has been successful and will assist in the evidence base to advocate for ongoing telehealth supporting mechanisms.

The successful author group comprises of Ms Niamh Mundell (Deakin University); Associate Professor Chris Askew (University of the Sunshine Coast); Professor Ralph Maddison (Deakin University); Associate Professor Andrew Maiorana (Curtin University); Dr Shelley Keating (University of Queensland); Dr Patrick Owen (Deakin University); Dr Kelly Clanchy (Griffith University); and Professor Suzanne Robinson (Curtin University).

Ms Niamh Mundell stated that the aims of the project were to: (1) Evaluate the effectiveness of clinical outcomes of AEP telehealth interventions during COVID-19, (2) Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of AEP telehealth interventions compared with ‘usual care’ face-to-face interventions, and (3) Investigate the acceptability and feasibility of telehealth experiences from a client and AEP practitioner perspective during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the peak association for Australia’s exercise and sports professionals, ESSA aims to expand on the existing evidence of the impact and efficacy of AEP telehealth services as a viable mode of continued service delivery beyond the pandemic.

“ESSA advocates that the continued delivery of AEP telehealth services beyond COVID-19 has capacity to improve and maintain health outcomes and overcome the long-standing issues around access to quality health care services, and growing pressure on Australia’s primary health care system,” says Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA CEO.

“Adding telehealth services to face-to-face service delivery as appropriate, enables AEPs to continue to improve the health outcomes of both vulnerable populations and those in rural and remote communities in Australia, as well as dispersing pressure from the primary health care system.”

“Our research project aims to build on the evidence base of the efficacy of AEP telehealth services, as well as to better understand both client and practitioner experience." 

The research project will formally begin from mid-August 2020 with a survey that we hope all AEPs will engage with.