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Setting up your physical environment

Learn how to set up your physical space for telehealth

You do not need a specific space dedicated to telehealth video consultations. Desktop and web-based videoconferencing means that any room with a computer and the internet can be set up in a matter of seconds as long as it adheres to the requirements outlined below. Think about your in-person consulting rooms and/or offices and identify a place that will suitable.

Be sure that the room you are using is appropriate:

  • Privacy: no one should be able to hear the conversation, and nobody else should present in the background or within the room itself. Ensure the volume on your device is sufficiently loud for you to hear the conversation, but not so loud that people three rooms down can also hear what the patient is saying!
  • Telephone number: obtain the patient’s telephone number so you can call them if the video consultation gets interrupted or video quality deteriorates
  • Guidance for patients: in advance of the appointment, share with patients guidance for connecting with the video consultation
  • Appropriate lighting: it is important the patient can see you clearly, and any tasks/movements you may demonstrate. If additional lighting is required, consider:
  • Placing a lamp or light on the desk to lighten your face;
  • Close curtains/blinds, or face a different direction from a window that could create shadows and/or;
  • Turn off bright light sources in the background.
  • Fit-for-purpose: the room has space for you to demonstrate an exercise program, or functional movements/tasks, as required, and has a desk and chair so you are comfortable and can take notes.
  • Professional: consider the view of your patient back into your room and ensure an appropriately “professional” outlook.
  • Quiet: ensure there is no background noise in order to maximise sound quality/clarity.
  • Safety: do not demonstrate exercises or functional tasks using wheeled chairs or any other unsafe piece of equipment.
  • Clarity: avoid stripes, busy fabrics, cluttered backgrounds or rapid movement. The “busier “the environment is visually, the more data/information that must be transmitted and there is an increased risk of the call dropping out. Reduce the demands of your bandwidth and keep your environment simple. The recommended background colour is a neutral pastel (e.g. beige, pale blue, pale green) and if the existing background is not ideal, consider using a movable screen as a quick solution.
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Physiotherapy Exercise and Physical Activity for Knee Osteoarthritis (PEAK)

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