Raymond Fong, Chun Fung Tsai, & Oi Yan You




Telemedicine and e-Health

Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate the accelerated emergence of telepractice in speech language pathology during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Hong Kong—a small city with limited accessibility concern that telepractice has not been widely implemented.

Method: An online survey of speech therapists in Hong Kong was conducted between February and March in 2020. The survey comprised up to 15 questions to assess participants' demographics, existing service delivery in telepractice, perception, and their training and knowledge on telepractice.

Results: One hundred thirty-five speech (n = 135) speech language pathologists responded to the survey. About one-third (34.8%; n = 47) of participants reported having provided services through telepractice, whereas 72.3% of them started in <3 months and half of them considered it was less effective than face-to-face service. Among the other participants (n = 88), 83% of them indicated that unsuitable patient type and age as the main reason for not providing telepractice. The majority of participants had no prior training for delivering telepractice, and focused on technology when asked about their desired training. Knowledge of participants on telepractice was found only to align fairly with international guidelines. Discussions: The survey findings suggested that telepractice provision in Hong Kong was different from that of other countries where telepractice has been well established, due to the accelerated emergence by the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: The study showed how the development of telepractice would be like in a short time frame, and findings on perception and desired training could be a reference for a better establishment of this model of service.

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