June 14, 2024

Surprisingly Effective The Impact of Group Telehealth Sessions on Clinician-Patient Relationships

A recent qualitative study published in BMJ Quality and Safety, led by Monash University, has revealed that patients perceive therapeutic relationships formed during group Telehealth sessions as not only effective but, in some cases, even superior to those in traditional in-person consultations.

The research, which interviewed 25 participants (18 patients with shoulder pain and 7 clinicians), aimed to understand the development of therapeutic relationships in group telehealth sessions, with up to three patients participating in each session over a 12-week period. During these sessions, clinicians provided patients with essential education about their condition, treatment advice, and a prescribed program of physical exercises.

First author Fernando Sousa, a Ph.D. candidate from Monash University’s School of Primary and Allied Health Care, shared his motivation for the study, stating, “We wanted to know what people think about the relationship with their clinicians through video calls. With the increased reliance on telehealth services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were curious about how well they could connect with each other.”

Despite initial concerns from clinicians about balancing relationship building and faithful delivery of telehealth treatments, the study found that patients perceived these relationships as having a positive impact on treatment engagement and patient outcomes. The findings challenge common misconceptions that telehealth diminishes therapeutic relationships.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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