Telehealth has been all over the media of late thanks to sweeping government reforms allowing Medicare rebates for telehealth services and for GPs and other specialists to be able to work from home while delivering telehealth consultations. That’s all well and good but all these articles fail to answer a few very important questions - what is telehealth and why should you use it?
Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, is healthcare services provided via telecommunication, allowing for long distance consultation on medical cases that don’t require physical intervention. Previously Australian telehealth services were mostly limited to remote communities and those not within range of traditional health services, but with the advent of social distancing and trying to stop the spread of COVID-19, telehealth options have been made more available nationwide to give patients easy access to medical professionals and to safeguard healthcare professionals from potential infection.
Going forward, GPs will be able to bulk bill phone and video consultations, and the criteria for telehealth services has been expanded to include all specialists, allied health and mental health professionals.
How does telehealth work?
Telehealth appointments are much like normal medical appointments, but are facilitated over the phone or online rather than face to face. Obviously some consultations need to be face to face for testing or procedures, but for general consultations and and mental health appointments, telehealth is a perfect option.
While there are numerous different video chat services available that are used for telehealth appointments, including Skype and Whatsapp, all that is really required to use a telehealth service is a computer, tablet or smartphone with a browser or capable of downloading apps. A booking can be made as per usual with your healthcare provider, and they will send you the detail of how you can access the telehealth appointment.
The MyHelath1st telehealth service is a browser-based, end-to-end encrypted solution that is both easy to use and secure. Rather than needing a third party program or app to work, the MyHealth1st telehealth service runs in your Internet browser, so will work on nearly any device capable of browsing the Internet. Our service also contains a number of tools to enhance the consult, including the ability to share files - perfect for ePrescriptions or online doctor’s notes - share a screen or add an interactive whiteboard. Up to four people can take part in a telehealth consult using the MyHealth1st service, so you can add a translator, family member, carer or more to your call.
Check how to book a telehealth appointment and how is a telehealth consult through MyHealth1st Telehealth integrated solution.
What services are available through Telehealth?
From March 13 to September 20 (end date subject to change depending on the progress of COVID-19), all telehealth services can be bulk billed with no additional gap payment. Practices can choose to charge a full fee for telehealth services which are not refundable through Medicare. Learn more about what services are available through telehealth here.
To find and book a telehealth appointment, head to telehealthclinics.com.au
How to find and book a Telehealth appointment?
For most people, telehealth is a new service and technology they’re unfamiliar with, but finding and booking a telehealth appointment couldn’t be easier. Check how to book a telehealth appointment in a few steps.
What are the benefits of telehealth?
The main benefit of telehealth is being able to access medical health professionals without having to travel. While this has always been the case for remote communities, the ability to see a doctor without having to leave home is a boon to social distancing and voluntary isolation. The ability to make telehealth appointments also greatly benefits those with limited mobility or are housebound, as they can attend appointments without having to arrange transport to and from a practice.
When should I use telehealth?
Most medical appointments that don’t revolve around immediate physical intervention (injury or serious illness) can be handled through telehealth services. Dermatologists can work remotely by looking at images of rashes, skin conditions, moles and spots, and ophthalmologists can conduct many eye exams via video conferencing. Even physiotherapists can work through telehealth, helping patients rehabilitate from injury without the need for face to face contact. Therapy and other mental health appointments are perfectly suited for telehealth services, allowing patients to attend sessions without the added stress of having to travel to an appointment.
The easiest way to book a telehealth appointment with a healthcare professional is through the MyHealth1st portal.