Telehealth is healthcare ‘at a distance’. Telehealth services use information and communication technologies to deliver healthcare services and transmit health information between the client and the GP/nurse, and/or the GP and another healthcare professional or service provider (eg pharmacist). This can include via telephone consultation, email or videoconferencing.
The medical practice at Banyule Community Health is providing telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic to better protect the community by reducing the number of clients waiting in our reception area and minimising the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Telehealth is conducted in a similar manner to a face-to-face consultation – except that the GP/practice nurse you will be speaking with is in another location and you are communicating via a telephone or video call. If the technology is set up correctly and working seamlessly, you will be able to hear and talk to your GP/practice nurse as if they were in the same room as you, and if on a video call, you will also be able to see your GP/practice nurse.
For more information about telehealth including the risks attached to using this type of service, refer to the frequently asked questions (below) or troubleshooting guide.
If you are booked in for a video call appointment, please use Google Chrome as your browser to minimise technical issues.
Please test your smart phone or computer set-up prior to each video call appointment https://vcc2.healthdirect.org.au/precall
Should you require any assistance, please contact Banyule Community Health on 9450 2000.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly changing situation and we thank you for your understanding at this challenging time as we fight this pandemic together.
Telehealth frequently asked questions:
Which telehealth platform does Banyule Community Health’s medical practice use?
Our GPs and practice nurses use Health Direct Video Call – an initiative developed by Healthdirect Australia, a national, government-owned, not-for-profit organisation.
For more information on Health Direct Video Call, click here.
Do you have to participate in a telehealth appointment?
As we are currently operating in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic where social distancing or self-isolation is recommended, we are offering our clients a telehealth appointment first before booking a face-to-face appointment (if required) as we are trying to reduce the number of clients in our reception area so we can minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
We want to emphasise that we will continue to serve our clients by seeing you face-to-face where required. After the phone and/or video consultation with your GP, you will be booked in for a physical review if your GP decides that it is an appropriate step to take.
What are the advantages of telehealth services?
- Continued access to medical care;
- Reduced risk and exposure to COVID-19.
What are the disadvantages of telehealth?
- Telehealth appointments may not always be clinically appropriate. You may still be required to have physical examinations, investigations or tests that require you to attend in person.
- Poor internet or telephone connection may cause the video or sound to fail. If this occurs, you will be offered another telehealth appointment, or in the case of a video call, your appointment may continue over the telephone (if appropriate).
- The internet is an insecure public network which means there are risks that information transmitted over the internet (eg via emails) may be intercepted by third parties. We cannot guarantee total protection against hacking or the interception of information transmitted over the internet.
What happens at your telehealth appointment?
- Your telehealth appointment takes place in the same familiar way that it would if you and your GP/practice nurse were in the same room together.
- At the start, everyone present will be asked to introduce themselves. You will be asked some identifying questions such as your name, address and date of birth to make sure the correct patient and correct health records are present.
- It is your choice whether you agree to have other people present at your telehealth appointment for support. If you choose to have someone present, please inform your GP/practice nurse at the start of the appointment.
- You may ask any of the people present to leave the room at any time if you wish to talk privately with your GP/practice nurse.
- You will be able to see yourself on the screen – this can be turned off if you do not wish to see yourself on the screen.
- If you need to be examined in person, your GP/practice nurse will organise a further appointment for you to attend our practice in person.
What can I expect as a telehealth client?
You can expect to receive appropriate care from your GP/practice nurse who are trained to use the telehealth platform, and to conduct telehealth consultations.
If you require the services of an interpreter, please let us know when you book a telehealth appointment so we can make the appropriate arrangements for an interpreter to be present at the time of your consultation.
How should you prepare for a video appointment ?
You can help get the best from a video call appointment by following these simple steps:
- please test your smart phone or computer set-up prior to each video call appointment https://vcc2.healthdirect.org.au/precall.
- please note that you must use Google Chrome as your browser for the video call facility to operate properly.
- be at least 10 minutes early to allow for log in time.
- don’t wear brightly patterned or reflective clothing as this may not show up well on camera.
- switch off your mobile or set it to silent mode (if using a computer your telehealth consultation).
- speak clearly so your voice can be picked up by the microphone.
- look at the camera so you can achieve good eye contact with your GP/practice nurse; and
- if you have a question or need help during the consultation, just ask.
Your privacy is important
Our GPs/practice nurses use Health Direct Video Call to provide video call services to you. Health Direct Video Call uses high quality encrypted video technology (WebRTC) available in modern web browsers and provides health grade privacy and security.
Will the telehealth appointment be recorded?
No. Our GPs/practice nurses do not record telehealth appointments and we do not give you permission to make your own recordings. However, if your GP thinks it might be helpful for your treatment to record particular images during your video call consultation, they will first seek your consent to do so and they may ask you to repeat your consent on camera.
You must not attempt to record the video or audio of your video/telephone call or take screenshots or copies of images of your video call. Our GPs/practice nurses reserve the right to terminate your video call, or continue the call but cease the camera operation if they consider it to be appropriate in the circumstances.
What if you feel you can’t continue with the telehealth consultation?
Most patients feel a little nervous at the beginning of their first telehealth consultation because it is a new way of seeing your GP/practice nurse. However, most patients soon feel very comfortable with this kind of consultation. It is very unlikely you will feel unable to continue with a telehealth consultation. If this does happen, you can stop the consultation although consultation fees will still apply.
How much will it cost?
For the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, all telehealth consultations that meet the Medicare eligibility criteria for telehealth consultations will be bulk billed.
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
Telehealth consultations require a lot of coordination, so please try to keep your appointment. If you need to cancel, please let us know as soon as possible by contacting 9450 2000.
What if I have questions?
If you have any questions about your telehealth consultation, please contact us 9450 2000.
How can I provide feedback?
You can give feedback:
- Directly to your service provider – this is appreciated, quick and effective
- By filling out a feedback form online
- By calling us on 9450 2000
- By emailing email@example.com