The Jean Hailes Medical Centres offer specialist telehealth consultations for eligible parties under the federal government's Telehealth Initiative (announced 1 July 2011).
Telehealth enables women in rural, remote, regional areas of Australia to access Jean Hailes women's health staff and specialists via video consultations. We are delighted to be able to broaden our medical services under this scheme because we recognise it is not always possible to travel to our medical centre. Benefits include improved access to specialist women's health care, reduced travel time and costs and reduced absence from work and family.
You may like to have a video consultation with one of our women's health GPs, naturopath or a specialist. To have a video consultation with your specialist, you must be referred by your GP and both doctors must consider it safe and suitable for you.
You can participate in a video consultation from your home, or your GP's practice. In rural/remote areas, some local hospitals may offer this facility.
We encourage you to have a 'supported' video consultation, which means you will be in with your GP or other health professionals at their rooms. For certain circumstances you can hold a video consultation directly with your specialist in your home, provided both doctors felt this was clinically appropriate.
How do I know if I am eligible?
To be eligible for this initiative, the location at which you conduct the video consultation must be considered 'eligible'. Generally if you live in an outer metropolitan, rural or remote area you will be eligible. Please note, you must be more than 15km from the specialist you wish to connect with, even if you live in an eligible area. The 'eligible' location can be either your home, or your GP's practice. To check your eligibility visit www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/publishing.nsf/Content/locator#metro
If you have any medical questions about whether a video consultation may be suitable for you, please talk to your GP or specialist.
Video consultation appointments
Our reception staff can arrange video consultations with you and your GP (or practice nurse or Aboriginal health worker).
Video consultations require a lot of coordination for both Jean Hailes and your GP so please try to keep your video consultation appointment. If you need to cancel, please let us know as soon as possible. Our usual cancellation policy applies and if less than 48 hours' notice is provided a cancellation fee of $55.00 applies.
Preparing for a video consultation
You can help get the best from a video consultation by following these simple steps:
- Arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow for preparation time
- Avoid wearing brightly patterned or reflective clothing, as this may not show up well on camera
- Switch your mobile off or to silent mode
- Speak clearly so your voice can be picked up by the microphone
- Look at the camera, so you can achieve good eye contact with the specialist
- Do not hesitate to ask if you need help during the video consultation
What to expect during the appointment
Apart from you, your GP (or another support clinician from your team) and the specialist, nobody else can be present unless you agree to this in advance. It is your choice whether you agree to have other parties present. As with a face-to-face appointment, your spouse, partner, family or friend may accompany you if you wish.
You (and your GP, if relevant) and our specialist will be on a TV/video or computer screen at each end of the video consultation.
At the start of the consultation everyone will introduce themselves and the reason for the consultation will be explained. You will be asked some identifying questions such as your name, address, and date of birth to make sure the right patient, right doctors and right health records are present. The specialist will speak with you and ask you questions in the same way as they would at a face-to-face consultation.
The specialist may ask your GP or support clinician to examine you on their behalf. Your privacy will be respected and a privacy curtain should be drawn if you need to remove clothing for an examination.
You may ask your GP (or other support clinician from your team) to step out of the video consultation at any time if you wish to have a private discussion with the specialist and they will do so provided they think your safety is not at risk.
Privacy & confidentiality
The same privacy and confidentiality requirements that apply to face-to-face consultations apply to video consultations. In addition, Jean Hailes complies strictly with RACGP Standards for video consultations at all times and maintains appropriate security of its internal network. Jean Hailes uses secure standards based software for video consultations. We cannot, however, be held responsible for any external breach of internet security.
Those wishing to participate in video consultations should determine their own level of comfort regarding web based video conference systems before proceeding. Recording (video or audio) of all or part of the telehealth consultation is strictly prohibited for all parties.
Our practice does not record video consultations and we do not give patients permission to make their own recordings of a video consultation.
Generally you will receive two bills for the video consultation – one from your GP and one from Jean Hailes. Our usual fees apply, plus there is an additional video consultation fee. Fees will need to be paid at the beginning of the video conference via credit card.
Medicare rebates for video consultations are available to patients from remote, regional, and outer metropolitan areas as well as patients of residential aged care facilities or Aboriginal medical services anywhere in Australia. If you fall into one of these patient categories and are privately billed, you will be eligible for a Medicare rebate.
Frequently asked questions
What if I feel I can't continue?
Most patients feel a little nervous at the beginning of their first video consultation because it's a new way of seeing a doctor. However, most patients soon feel very comfortable with this kind of consultation. It is very unlikely you will feel unable to continue with a video consultation, but if this does happen you can leave; however, your consultation fees may still apply.
What if I need additional tests, or prescriptions?
If the specialist needs to order investigations or write you a script for medication she/he will do this and post the document/s to your home.
How can I provide feedback on my video consultation?
We are keen to get your feedback so we can continue to improve our video consultation services. After your telehealth consultation, we will send you a link to an online evaluation form where you can give your feedback.
Where can I get more general information about telehealth consultations?
For more information about patient eligibility and payments:
Medicare Australia: 1800 222 032 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MBS online: Connecting Health Services With the Future: Questions and Answers for Patients
For further queries regarding Telehealth please contact the Jean Hailes Medical Centre in Clayton, VIC on 03 9562 7555.
Disclaimer: the information above has been adapted from © The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2011
The RACGP Implementation Guidelines for Video Consultations in General Practice 2011
Standards for General Practices offering Video Consultations – RACGP, Oct 2011
Medical Board of Australia – Consultation on draft guidelines for technology based patient consultations – July 2011
Quality Practice Guidelines for Telepsychiatry
WA Department of Health – Principles for Video Conferencing
RACGP Fact Sheet – Video Consultations Etiquette
Medicare – Telehealth Frequently Asked Questions
Medicare Australia website - Telehealth Website
Skype Security Analysis & Privacy Statement
On-Line and Other Broadband Connected Medical Consultations 2006 - AMA Position Statement