Pilot to gauge impact of mobile technology on children's speech and language services

Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust to give patients and families tablet computers as part of trial

Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust’s Children’s Division’s Speech and Language Therapy Service is partnering with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) to pilot and evaluate the use of mobile technologies to link medical practitioners and families at home.

Supported by the North West Innovation Fund, the Keeping in Touch project is being led by Sheena Round, consultant speech and language therapist at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust, alongside LJMU’s Dr Helen Poole and Dr Paul Fergus.

The project, which goes live this month, will involve clinicians and families being given 10-inch Samsung Galaxy tablets, pre-installed with Skype, 3G and wireless communications which will enable the trust to provide therapy sessions remotely to children – both at home and in a school setting.

Round said: “This is a very exciting project that could totally revolutionise the way we work and significantly improve the way speech and language therapy is delivered to children.

“The project will provide children requiring speech and language therapy with interactive technologies on mobile devices that will make treatment sessions more fun and more interactive, using devices and technologies which many children are already accustomed to.

“We are also hoping the tablets will let us work in a different way with our families, giving them an alternative method of accessing our therapy services which could significantly reduce the amount of time and expense taken up by travelling to and from appointments for parents.”

Dr Fergus, a senior research lecturer for the applied computing research group at LJMU, added: “This is a truly exciting collaboration that has the potential to make a real difference to children and their families, while at the same time helping to streamline the way speech and language services are delivered in a community setting.”

Dr Poole, a senior lecturer in psychology at LJMU will be evaluating the project to help establish whether the remote therapy sessions provide the same quality of care as face-to-face sessions.

Results from the evaluation of the project will be available in the autumn.

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