Telerehabilitation: Supporting Change in SA Health

Mr Chris Leung1

1SA Health, Bedford Park, Australia


SA Health need to meet increasing demands for rehabilitation services across the state, improve consumer access and enhance clinical safety and quality. This paper explores the implementation of telehealth in rehabilitation (telerehabilitation) as a service modality across SA Health to enhance care pathways.

Supported by growing national and international evidence for telerehabilitation, SA Health committed to embed telehealth in rehabilitation services across the state, investing significantly in new roles and technology.

Access to specialist rehabilitation services in SA Health has been limited to 4 key metropolitan sites and 3 regional sites. Consumers are now able to loan SA Health iPads, or use their own technology, to connect with rehabilitation teams for consultations, assessments and therapy as well as utilise therapeutic apps to engage with extra goal-oriented activities, from their own homes.

A target was set for 5% of all IPHA Tier 2 rehabilitation activity to be provided by telehealth. Additional measures include: monitoring of incidents and sentinel events, establishing appropriate and relevant measures for technical issues impacting on clinical care, and continual monitoring of consumer, as well as clinician satisfaction.

The 70:20:10 learning and development model and various change management philosophies were used to introduce new concepts, skills and procedures to clinical staff.

In 10 months, telerehabilitation services have exceeded the 5% target for Tier-2 activity. The program has enabled unprecedented access to rehabilitation services for rural and remote patients.

The program team recognised and balanced the subjective and objective, individual and collective elements required for system-wide reform.


Chris works for SA Health, as the Statewide Telerehabilitation Clinical Lead – Allied Health. Over the last 12 years, he has enjoyed various roles in clinical physiotherapy and allied health clinical governance, from metropolitan to country and rural services across SA and the NT. His clinical passions lie in serving the community as a general ruralist physiotherapist and in promoting greater access to quality services for rural and remote Australians. In his current role, Chris is proud to be serving as a bridge between ICT and clinical care, and to be planning, implementing and promoting statewide initiatives through technology.

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