Article Text

Original research
Exploration of implementation, financial and technical considerations within allied health professional (AHP) telehealth consultation guidance: a scoping review including UK AHP professional bodies’ guidance
  1. Enza Leone1,
  2. Nicola Eddison1,2,
  3. Aoife Healy1,
  4. Carolyn Royse3,
  5. Nachiappan Chockalingam1
  1. 1Centre for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Technologies, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
  2. 2Orthotic Service, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, Wolverhampton, UK
  3. 3Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Dorchester, Dorset, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aoife Healy; a.healy{at}


Objectives The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a shift to remote consultations, but telehealth consultation guidelines are lacking or inconsistent. Therefore, a scoping review was performed to chart the information in the articles exploring telehealth for the UK allied health professionals (AHPs) and compare them with the UK AHP professional bodies’ guidelines.

Design Scoping review following Aksey and O’ Malley methodological framework.

Data sources CINHAL and MEDLINE were searched from inception to March 2021 using terms related to ‘telehealth’, ‘guidelines’ and ‘AHPs’. Additionally, the UK AHP professional bodies were contacted requesting their guidelines.

Study selection Articles exploring telehealth for patient consultations, written in English and published in peer-reviewed journal or guidelines available from UK AHP professional bodies/their websites were considered eligible for review.

Data extraction One reviewer extracted data concerning three overarching domains: implementation, financial and technological considerations.

Results 2632 articles were identified through database searches with 21 articles eligible for review. Eight guidelines were obtained from the UK AHP professional bodies with a total of 29 included articles/guidelines. Most articles were published in the last two years; there was variety in telehealth terminology, and most were developed for occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists. Information was lacking about the assessment of telehealth use and effectiveness, barriers and limitations, the logistical management, the family’s and caregiver’s roles and the costs. There was lack of clarity on the AHPs’ registration requirements, costs and coverage, and legal aspects.

Conclusion This study identified gaps in current guidelines, which showed similarities as well as discrepancies with the guidance for non-AHP healthcare professionals and revealed that the existing guidelines do not adequately support AHPs delivering telehealth consultations. Future research and collaborative work across AHP groups and the world’s leading health institutions are suggested to establish common guidelines that will improve AHP telehealth services.

  • COVID-19
  • protocols & guidelines
  • health policy

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article and its additional information files. Should further details be required, please contact the corresponding author.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article and its additional information files. Should further details be required, please contact the corresponding author.

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Supplementary materials


  • EL, NE and AH are joint first authors.

  • Twitter @leone_enza, @AoifeCHealy, @nachic

  • Contributors All authors conceived the idea and contributed to the study design of the review. EL carried out the literature search, and CR contacted the UK allied health professional (AHP) bodies to request their guidelines. Inclusion and exclusion of full-text articles was reached by consensus by EL and AH, in case of disagreement on eligibility between the two reviewers, then the article was discussed with the other coauthors (NE, CR and NC). Data were extracted and analysed by EL. All the authors have made a significant contribution to drafting the manuscript and have seen and approved the final manuscript. EL, NE and AH contributed equally to this paper. NC is the manuscript’s guarantor.

  • Funding The study was supported by Public Health England through the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO), Ref: 6719098 (02.02.21).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.