Telehealth and Individuals with IDD: Challenges and Best-Practices

November 29, 2021

Kimberly Phillips is a woman with glasses and long brown hair

On October 21, the WITH Foundation announced a $50,000 award to the Institute on Disability for a one-year initiative to investigate best practices for offering telehealth care to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The COVID-19 pandemic limited access to care and increased reliance on telehealth rather than in-person office visits. While telehealth reduces some obstacles to care (e.g., transportation), it presents other challenges. For example, people with disabilities are 20% less likely to own computers, smartphones, or tablets than those without, making access to care difficult. Current telehealth practices may not account for the unique needs and abilities of adults with IDD.

Under the direction of Research Assistant Professor Kimberly Phillips, the research team will undertake a scoping review to identify challenges and best practices associated with providing telehealth to individuals with IDD.

“Basic access to health care is key to good health outcomes,” said Dr. Phillips. “Health care providers can benefit from evidence-informed findings about how to effectively offer telehealth to patients with IDD. Individuals and families can also use the information to advocate for the best possible care.”

The project, called Telehealth and Individuals with IDD: Challenges and Best-Practices, will partner with an advisory group of self advocates with disabilities and the New Hampshire Self-Advocacy Leadership Team (SALT).