The effectiveness of exercise physiology services during the COVID-19 pandemic: a pragmatic cohort study

Owen, Patrick J ORCID: 0000-0003-3924-9375, Keating, Shelley E ORCID: 0000-0001-5357-2721, Askew, Christopher D ORCID: 0000-0001-8076-8789, Clanchy, Kelly M ORCID: 0000-0001-9249-1801, Jansons, Paul ORCID: 0000-0002-8766-0516, Maddison, Ralph ORCID: 0000-0001-8564-5518, Maiorana, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0002-0681-1707, McVicar, Jenna ORCID: 0000-0001-5007-7223, Robinson, Suzanne ORCID: 0000-0001-5703-6475, Neason, Christopher ORCID: 0000-0002-7937-7737, Clarkson, Matthew J ORCID: 0000-0003-0447-9269 and Mundell, Niamh L ORCID: 0000-0001-5406-3216 (2023) The effectiveness of exercise physiology services during the COVID-19 pandemic: a pragmatic cohort study. Sports Medicine - Open, 9. ISSN 2198-9761


Abstract Background The COVID-19 pandemic markedly changed how healthcare services are delivered and telehealth delivery has increased worldwide. Whether changes in healthcare delivery borne from the COVID-19 pandemic impact effectiveness is unknown. Therefore, we examined the effectiveness of exercise physiology services provided during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods This prospective cohort study included 138 clients who received exercise physiology services during the initial COVID-19 pandemic. Outcome measures of interest were EQ-5D-5L, EQ-VAS, patient-specific functional scale, numeric pain rating scale and goal attainment scaling. Results Most (59%, n = 82) clients received in-person delivery only, whereas 8% (n = 11) received telehealth delivery only and 33% (n = 45) received a combination of delivery modes. Mean (SD) treatment duration was 11 (7) weeks and included 12 (6) sessions lasting 48 (9) minutes. The majority (73%, n = 101) of clients completed; 80% of exercise sessions. Exercise physiology improved mobility by 14% (β = 0.23, P = 0.003), capacity to complete usual activities by 18% (β = 0.29, P; 0.001), capacity to complete important activities that the client was unable to do or having difficulty performing by 54% (β = 2.46, P; 0.001), current pain intensity by 16% (β = − 0.55, P = 0.038) and goal attainment scaling t-scores by 50% (β = 18.37, P; 0.001). Effectiveness did not differ between delivery modes (all: P; 0.087). Conclusions Exercise physiology services provided during the COVID-19 pandemic improved a range of client-reported outcomes regardless of delivery mode. Further exploration of cost-effectiveness is warranted.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1186/s40798-022-00539-3
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Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords COVID-19, pandemic, exercise physiology, healthcare, healthcare delivery, telehealth
Citations in Scopus 1 - View on Scopus
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