Telehealth in the time of Covid-19

While so many of us in Australia doing a great job with social distancing, some of us will still require medical or health appointments. This might mean you are unwilling to leave your home for appointments, but we do have ways to help you manage your health concerns.

If you are worried about a health condition, seeing your doctor or health professional is crucial. Most health clinics are still open for physical appointments face to face with patients, and many clinics are now able to do teleconsultations as well. If you are physically going to see your health professional, be assured that your clinic will be taking preventative measures and precautions to reduce the likelihood of spread or risk of contracting Covid-19. These will include asking screening questions of all patients, wearing protective equipment, reducing the number of people onsite and increasing hygiene and sanitation measures.

In saying that, some health conditions can be well managed and treated via a teleconsultation or online consultation. These online consultations are now rebatable or claimable for GP or medical specialist consultations on Medicare or from your Private Health Insurance with extras if you are seeing your allied health provider.

This blog aims to clarify what a telehealth consultation is and how to best prepare for your consultation.

What is a telehealth consultation?

A telehealth consultation is delivering your usual services through a video-call or telephone. It is a real-time one on one appointment. You will be able to see and hear your health professional and your health professional will be able to chat to you about your condition.

What do I need for a telehealth consultation?

All that is required is secure internet connection and a device such as a tablet, computer or mobile phone.

Your health professional will utilise specific and secure software to ensure your privacy. Your health professional will be able to assist to ensure a smooth set up and process.

For the best possible consultation, ensure that you set up in a quiet area with privacy and that your device is fully charged.

What to expect from your telehealth consultation?

Your telehealth consultation will feel like a normal consultation, but without the physical presence of the practitioner. Your health professional will take a comprehensive history and ask questions relating to your presenting condition or complaint. If required, your health professional will be able to observe your physical movements or ailment.

By putting together your full history, your health professional we will be able to discuss a treatment plan and what is required for management. You may be asked to come into the clinic for a further examination or to go to a pathology laboratory for blood tests. These can be discussed with your doctor or other health professional if you have concerns and solutions found to ensure your health care is optimised.

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