The status of telerehabilitation in neurological applications
We systematically reviewed the evidence for the effectiveness of tele-neurorehabilitation (TNR) applications. The review included recent reports on rehabilitation for any disability associated with a neurological deficit or condition. Study quality was assessed using an approach that considered both study performance and study design. Judgements were made on whether each application had been successful, and whether further data were needed to establish the application as suitable for routine use. Nineteen credible studies that reported patient outcomes or administrative changes were identified. These studies related to 13 conditions. The focus of rehabilitation included Internet-supported treatments for management of fatigue, pain and depression; promotion of physical activity; and speech therapy. Sixteen studies were of high or good quality and three were fair to good, with some limitations. In 13 of the 19 studies the TNR application was successful in providing at least equivalent outcomes to conventional approaches. Additional work would be needed on eight applications to establish suitability for routine use, and would be desirable in five. Thus the recent literature provides further support for TNR applications, showing the promise of this field in a number of areas. However, the database of credible studies remains small.