Creating evidence for telehealth-delivered neurodevelopmental assessments

The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) are coming together to undertake research to provide clinicians with guidance and evidence-based information on how to best deliver telehealth developmental assessments.

Thanks to the Good Friday Appeal, The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) are coming together to undertake research to provide clinicians with guidance and evidence-based information on how to best deliver telehealth developmental assessments.

Patients accessing healthcare via telehealth appointments have increased following the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is vital children and young people with complex neurodevelopmental needs are given accurate and timely diagnoses and appropriate plans to manage their symptoms. This funding will ensure the quality and accuracy of assessments, so patients receive the best possible care.

For most children, the gift of learning, communicating with others, developing friendships, and engaging in day-to-day activities comes naturally. Yet for many children with a developmental disability, this is not the case.

Effective diagnosis and treatment plans for developmental disabilities traditionally rely on a series of in-person assessments that look at social and communication skills, speech and language abilities, and behaviour and brain function. Clinicians have shifted parts of these assessments to telehealth to treat vulnerable or disadvantaged patients.

Currently, the reliability of telehealth developmental assessments is not known. This makes a study in the area crucial in preventing incorrect diagnoses, unsafe clinical practices, and substandard clinical outcomes.

The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) are working together to develop evidence-based telehealth assessments.

The study will provide clinicians with guidance and guidelines on how to deliver high-quality telehealth assessments. This will result in positive health outcomes across the fields of neuropsychology, clinical psychology, developmental paediatrics and speech pathology.

The outcome of this study will be published in journals, discussed at national and international conferences, and shared in workshops to allow clinicians globally to deliver greater care and provide best practices.

This research can lead to high-quality telehealth-delivered assessments. It can also increase access to accurate assessments for vulnerable patients, such as those with immune deficiency, reduced mobility, mental health and neurodevelopmental problems, and those in regional or rural areas.

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