Only a click away: A workshop on best practice in telesupervision

Ms Priya Martin1

1 Cunningham Centre, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service, QLD-4350 & International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE), School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, SA – 5001. Priya.Martin@health.qld.gov.au

 

Background

The need for clinical supervision in non-metropolitan settings where health professionals face a number of challenges in accessing professional support is well-documented. While supervision has historically been provided face-to-face, the use of distance supervision using technology is on the rise. Distance supervision or telesupervision refers to clinical supervision conducted by using technology such as telephone, email or video conferencing. This usually occurs when the supervisor and supervisee are not co-located. With the rise of social media, tools such as blog, micro-blog, wiki, video chat, virtual world, podcast and social networks can also play a role in telesupervision. Moving from traditional face-to-face supervision to telesupervision calls for clear guidelines and recommendations for using technology to undertake clinical supervision. Compounding this issue, there is a paucity of documented evidence on the best practice for health professional supervision, especially distance or telesupervision. It is acknowledged that those who use technology for supervision are unaware of ways to use it effectively.

Objectives

Although technology is increasingly being used in supervision, best practice in this area is not widely discussed or understood. Therefore, the objectives of this workshop are to:

  • Highlight evidence-based factors that lead to effective telesupervision practices in the health professions.
  • Facilitate contextualisation of information on evidence based telesupervision to the participants’ work settings. This is expected to inturn lead to a better-supported workforce, and improved outcomes for patients and organisations as effective supervision is said to lead to better patient, organisation and staff outcomes.

Methods

A literature review on telesupervision has been undertaken to synthesise information on best practice in this area. The best evidence from the literature will be layered with the author’s insights and experiences gained from undertaking primary and secondary research on telesupervision. Using best practice principles in teaching and learning, this workshop will be interactive and facilitate contextualisation of the discussions to participants’ work settings.

Discussion

Providing or receiving supervision using one or more technology mediums will be discussed. Information will be provided on establishing a contract, addressing ethical concerns, maintaining confidentiality as well as other considerations while undertaking telesupervision. Discussion will be facilitated on how best to translate the new knowledge gained to participants’ work settings and contexts.

Conclusion

It is expected that this workshop will provide a forum for rural and remote health practitioners to acquire evidence-based information on telesupervision. It is further expected that effective telesupervision practices arising from attendance at this workshop will influence telehealth in general, as well as lead to improved outcomes for clients and organisations.