HumanInsight Usefulness of Telemedicine for Disabled Children Receiving Feeding Therapy
Dysphagia. 2022 Jun 29. doi: 10.1007/s00455-022-10482-w. Online ahead of print.
We performed a retrospective cohort study using medical records of 374 pediatric patients who visited a university dental clinic specializing in dysphagia rehabilitation in Japan between 2019 and 2020 to clarify the usefulness of telemedicine among disabled children receiving feeding therapy. The primary outcome was the feeding developmental stage confirmed at the final evaluation. Propensity score matching was performed between individuals in two treatment groups (in-person and telemedicine) before the final analysis using patients' age, sex, primary disease, gross motor function, and feeding developmental stage as covariates. A total of 36 patients were enrolled in each of the in-person and telemedicine groups. The initial evaluation for the propensity score matched population using the χ2 test showed no significant difference between the two groups in any parameter. The feeding developmental stage evaluated at the final evaluation using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test significantly improved compared with the stage at the initial evaluation in both groups (in-parson group, p = 0.007; telemedicine group, p = 0.013). The difference in level achieved at the final evaluation revealed that the most common level was "unchanged," followed by "improvement by one level" in both groups, indicating that there was no significant difference in the efficacy of feeding therapy between the two groups (p = 0.314). Our results show that telemedicine can achieve the same therapeutic outcomes as in-person therapy to improve feeding function in children with disabilities when receiving feeding therapy.
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