647. One step at a time. Shaping consensus on research priorities and terminology in telehealth in musculoskeletal pain: an international modified e-Delphi study.

Fandim JV, Hinman RS, Øverås CK, Sharma S, Belton J, Oliveira VC, Dear BF, Parker R, Ghai B, Bennell KL, Ferreira P, Hartvigsen J, Saragiotto BT.
BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2023 Oct 3;24(1):783


Telehealth has emerged as an alternative model for treatment delivery and has become an important component of health service delivery. However, there is inconsistency in the use of terminologies and a lack of research priorities in telehealth in musculoskeletal pain. The purpose of this international, multidisciplinary expert panel assembled in a modified three-round e-Delphi survey is to achieve a consensus on research priorities and for the standard terminology for musculoskeletal pain telehealth practice.

In this international modified e-Delphi survey, we invited an expert panel consisting of researchers, clinicians, consumer representatives, industry partners, healthcare managers, and policymakers to participate in a three-round e-Delphi. Expert panels were identified through the Expertscape website, PubMed database, social media, and a snowball approach. In Round 1, potential research priorities and terminologies were presented to panel members. Panel members rated the agreement of each research priority on a 5-point Likert scale and an 11-point numerical scale, and each terminology on a 5-point Likert scale for the "telehealth in musculoskeletal pain " field over rounds. At least 80% of the panel members were required to agree to be deemed a consensus. We analyzed the data descriptively and assessed the stability of the results using the Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test.

We performed an international e-Delphi survey from February to August 2022. Of 694 invited people, 160 panel members participated in the first round, 133 in the second round (83% retention), and 134 in the third round (84% retention). Most of the panel members were researchers 76 (47%), clinicians 57 (36%), and consumer representatives 9 (6%) of both genders especially from Brazil 31 (19%), India 22 (14%), and Australia 19 (12%) in the first round. The panel identified fourteen telehealth research priorities spanned topics including the development of strategies using information and communication technology, telehealth implementation services, the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of telehealth interventions, equity of telehealth interventions, qualitative research and eHealth literacy in musculoskeletal pain conditions from an initial list of 20 research priorities. The consensus was reached for "digital health" and "telehealth" as standard terminologies from an initial list of 37 terminologies.

An international, multidisciplinary expert consensus recommends that future research should consider the 14 research priorities for telehealth musculoskeletal pain reached. Additionally, the terms digital health and telehealth as the most appropriate terminologies to be used in musculoskeletal telehealth research.

Open Science Framework ( https://osf.io/tqmz2/ ).

Delphi technique; Musculoskeletal pain; Research priorities; Telehealth; Telerehabilitation; Terminology.

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