Using e-Health in the physical therapeutic care process for patients with temporomandibular disorders: a qualitative study on the perspective of physical therapists and patients

Hedwig A. van der Meer, Leonie de Pijper, Thijs van Bruxvoort, Corine M. Visscher, Maria W.G. Nijhuis-van der Sanden, Raoul H.H. Engelbert, Caroline M. Speksnijder

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Abstract

Background: Treatment of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) currently consists of a combination of noninvasive therapies and may be supported by e-Health. It is, however, unclear if physical therapists and patients are positive towards the use of e-Health. Purpose: To assess the needs, facilitators and barriers of the use of an e-Health application from the perspective of both orofacial physical therapists and patients with TMD. Methods: A descriptive qualitative study was performed. Eleven physical therapists and nine patients with TMD were interviewed using a topic guide. Thematic analysis was applied, and findings were ordered according to four themes: acceptance of e-Health, expected utility, usability and convenience. Results: Physical therapists identified the need for e-Health as a supporting application to send questionnaires, animated exercises and evaluation tools. Key facilitators for both physical therapists and patients for implementing e-Health included the increase in self-efficacy, support of data collection and personalization of the application. Key barriers are the increase of screen time, the loss of personal contact, not up-to-date information and poor design of the application. Conclusions: Physical therapists and patients with TMD are positive towards the use of e-Health, in a blended form with the usual rehabilitation care process for TMD complaints.Implications for rehabilitation The rehabilitation process of temporomandibular complaints may be supported by the use of e-Health applications. Physical therapists and patients with temporomandibular disorders are positive towards the use of e-Health as an addition to the usual care. Especially during the treatment process, there is a need for clear animated videos and reminders for the patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2020

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