There is increasing interest in the potential role of eHealth interventions to support self-management in people with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have been a significant catalyst for the implementation of eHealth modalities into routine practice, providing a unique opportunity for real-world evaluation of this underutilized method of delivering physiotherapy.
To explore the perceptions of eHealth-mediated supported self-management from the perspective of people with MSDs and physiotherapists who work in this clinical area.
A qualitative interpretive descriptive approach was used. Semi-structured telephone interviews with 13 musculoskeletal physiotherapists and 13 people with musculoskeletal disorders were undertaken. Transcripts were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis.
Three main themes were identified: 1) Flexibility within a blended care model; 2) eHealth as a facilitator of self-management support; and 3) Technology: Getting it right. Participants expressed concerns about assessment and diagnosis, establishing a therapeutic relationship and felt eHealth should be reserved for follow-up purposes. There was a consistent view expressed that eHealth could facilitate aspects of self-management support. A lack of resources and suboptimal user experience remains a challenge.
eHealth-mediated self-management support interventions were broadly acceptably, predominately as a follow-up option.