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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 67-72

Telepractice in speech-language pathology and audiology: Prospects and challenges


1 Department of Speech-Language Sciences, Tele-Center for Persons with Communication Disorders, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore, Karnataka, India
2 Tele-Center for Persons with Communication Disorders, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Prema K S. Rao
Department of Speech-Language Sciences, Tele-Center for Persons with Communication Disorders, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Manasagangothri, Mysore - 570 006, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jisha.JISHA_39_17

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With the advancement in science and technology, the information and communication technology (ICT) mode has been put to best use in the health-care sectors. Unlike health, communication disorders pose special challenges to service delivery. The Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology is an integrated health-care profession which is only about half-a-century old in India. The disproportion in the ratio of qualified service providers to service receivers is highly prevalent. In view of this, “Telepractice” (The term telepractice is used in this article to mean tele-rehabilitation for persons with communication disorders since the service comprises of multifaceted objectives such as rehabilitation in the Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology) as a means of “reaching the unreached” fits well when the service delivery is provided across geographic, time, social, and cultural barriers using ICT mode. Telepractice is generally provided from a remote site using store-and-forward as well as real-time technology using ICT platforms. The platform for telepractice in India is well set, with a considerable number of people being “digitally literate.” Yet, there are several concerns such as development of professional skills for telepractice; development and validation of digital resources; empirical studies on face-to-face, virtual, or hybrid service delivery; revision of code of ethics for telepractice; and mechanism to protect client's privacy on e-platforms that need to be addressed if telepractice has to be launched on a large scale in India. Insights gained from the work carried out at the Telecenter for Persons with Communication Disorders highlight on the advantages of telepractice from client/caregiver's perspective besides reflections on the prospects and challenges of telepractice in India.


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