Rural Health West has expanded our Locum Placement Service to respond to the challenges faced by general practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To support rural general practices to provide telehealth consultations, we are expanding our GP Locum services to assist you to identify suitable GP Locums who can provide telehealth services.

 Our GP Locums are vocationally registered and have experience delivering GP services for rural and remote communities. 

We are keen to connect practices with GPs who have previous experience working in your general practice or community and understand your patient demographics and local services. 

Please contact the GP Locum Team to register your interest.

Emergency Telehealth Service
Setting up Telehealth

Steps to providing Telehealth

The Australian Government has implemented a number of temporary changes to support health care providers to deliver telehealth services.  If you are new to telehealth we recommend that you consider the following.

Setting up Telehealth

There are a number of considerations when setting up Telehealth in your practice. These include:

  • Does your practice have appropriate access to a computer with good quality video and audio capability?
  • Contact your internet service provider and take advantage of the free NBN boost for general practices to provide telehealth.
  • What video conferencing software will you use?  There are two key options:
    • Health Direct video conferencing - This software has been designed with a number of features specifically to assist clinicians and patients such as:
      • A waiting room
      • Patients do not need to download any programs or set up an account
      • Patients can access Health Direct via computer, ipad, smartphone with the provided link. http://www.practiceassist.com.au/The-Tool-Kit/HealthDirect-Video-Call
      • WA Primary Health Alliance and HealthDirect Australia are able to assist practices to set-up and utilise the solution. 
    • Use an existing online platform such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Whatsapp.  Patients will need to set up accounts to access the service.

Practice Assist provide detailed Telehealth Service Options.

Communicating Telehealth Changes to Patients

Communicating Telehealth Changes to Patients


It is important to let your patients know that they can access these temporary services which have been made available as part of the COVID-19 National Health Plan telehealth measure (currently ceasing on 30 September 2020).

If you are charging any out-of-pocket fees for telehealth, you must obtain informed financial consent from patients prior to providing these services.

You may consider communicating this to patients through your:

Practice telephone message eg. "We are still here to take regular appointments, however if you have concerns about coming into the practice you can request a telehealth consultation." or "Telehealth is now available for our patients. We can take appointments via video or phone and can issue electronic prescriptions directly to you or your preferred pharmacy."

Practice website

Practice Facebook group or other social media

 

 

Best Practice for Telehealth Consultations

Best Practice for Telehealth Consultations

It is recommended that practices establish procedures and guidelines for telehealth consultations.  This will ensure a consistent approach to appointment bookings, conducting consultations, and billing patients and Medicare for telehealth consultations.

RACGP has developed a useful process which provides step-by-step guidance to establish, test and delivery of telehealth consultations.

ACRRM offers an online telehealth module and provides a useful guide to organising telehealth services within your practice.

The Digital Health CRC have a recorded webinar COVID-19 and digital technology: The roles, relevance and risks of using telehealth. A group of expert panellists discuss practical strategies for healthcare professionals and outline the risks and rewards of telehealth for practitioners and patients

Electronic Prescribing

Electronic Prescribing

As part of the interim telehealth arrangements, GPs can email or message a copy of prescriptions directly to the patient or the patient’s preferred pharmacy.

The COVID-19 Electronic Prescribing Fact Sheet for Prescribers provides has more information.

Telehealth MBS Information

 
Telehealth MBS Information


The latest changes to the COVID-19 Telehealth items can be found at MBS Online.

 This includes the latest fact sheets with information on changes to the temporary Covid-19 services and provider frequently asked questions.

Further information

 
Further Information

Practice Assist
ACRRM
RACGP