GETTING STARTED WITH TELEHEALTH

The Australian Government recently increased community access to Medicare-subsidised telehealth services in primary healthcare. If you’re not yet set up for telehealth in your practice, take a look at some of these handy resources on offer from the Australian Telehealth Society and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

These guides will help you to get started with telehealth using video conferencing or the telephone. They suggest to start small and keep things simple. Reach out to your College, the Australasian Telehealth Society, or your Primary Health Network for extra support.

  • Quick Guide – Key considerations to assist initial implementation.
  • Comprehensive Guide - Offers advice on managing appointments and conducting remote consultations.

 

CHOOSING A VIDEO CONFERENCING TOOL

The government has not mandated which technology practitioners can use, but the Australasian Telehealth Society recommends the use of standards-based platforms such as those that use secure Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) technology, for example, Healthdirect’s Video Call.

There are publically-available, no-cost entry points to video consultations that some practices may use or wish to consider. At a minimum, consider buying a high-quality webcam (if not in-built) that can be zoomed in on the patient, and with a built-in high-quality microphone.

There are also private fee-for-service video consultation platforms available. For a comprehensive list of technologies and providers visit www.ehealth.acrrm.org.au/technology-directory.

 

PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
  • When setting up a video and/or telephone consultation space, consider whether it:
  • is quiet and fit-for-purpose
  • has plain decor that won’t distract from visual images on the screen
  • has good lighting, avoiding high-intensity light (eg a window) behind the consultant
  • has systems to prevent interruptions (eg a ‘do not disturb’ sign to indicate that a video consultation is in progress)
  • has access to a phone as a back-up if the video call fails
  • is positioned close to the router (when relying on Wi-Fi).

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The following resources provide additional information to help you set-up telehealth services in your practice:

       Australasian Telehealth Society

      Australian College of Rural & Remote Medicine

 

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