Telehealth

As the COVID-19 Crisis unfolds, it is paramount that Allied Health service provision remains possible. Many services are well underway to making the transition to online service platforms and we have collated the following information as a quick reference guide to support you in this process. If you haven't already done so we encourage you to complete the COVID-19 training released by the Department of Health https://covid-19training.gov.au and check the latest health alerts https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel...

Changes to the Medical Benefits Scheme have been introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic now include telehealth consultations for allied health professionals where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so. For more information regarding what’s available, please visit http://www.mbsonline.gov.au/internet/mbsonline/pub...

Check out the Digital Health CRC telehealth HUB https://digitalhealthcrc.com/telehealth/
This website collates and indexes a wide range of resources that have been shared and recommended by members of Australia’s health community, in order to support their colleagues, professionals, and consumers to use telehealth effectively.

The Department of Health issued the following update regarding the role of allied health in the national COVID-19 response, reinforcing that allied health professionals are fundamental in meeting the community need at this time. For further information, please review the letter received by the Australian Allied Health Leadership Forum, you can find a copy of the letter here

Ahpra and the National Boards have developed information which outlines our expectations of how registered health practitioners will use telehealth in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can access their guidelines here.

Decided you want to provide services via telehealth – but not sure where to begin? Check out this tool to help guide you; 

 


Frequently Asked Questions’

What equipment do I need and what equipment does my client need?
You will both need an internet connection, computer/tablet/phone with a webcam and inbuilt microphone. These are the basics that you will need and you can opt to build the tech specs of your setup from here to suit your practice needs.

Which platform should I choose?
There many platforms available for you to choose from, some are more expensive than others. It's important to find the right platform that suits your practice and your client. For example, some platforms will require clients to download an app and others can be opened via an email link. There is no one size fits all model with this and you may need to trial a few before figuring out what works for you. Some options include but are not limited to: zoom, Skype, microsoft teams, coviu, healthdirect, and physitrack.

How do I choose a platform if I am in a rural and remote area?
The National Broadband Network outlined that for people living in remote areas that require Skymuster services for internet connection are best to use either Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams. These platforms are unmetered by the internet provider and are proving to be a stable option for telehealth service provision around the country. Further information on this can be found in the NBN co blog listed in the resources below. 

Are people able to access private health insurance rebates for services?
Private health funds are allowing members to access physiotherapy and psychology teleconsultations during the COVID-19 crisis. Health fund members should check with their fund to see if they are covered for telehealth consultations. Be aware that there are specific criteria that clients must meet, you can find more information at the following website https://www.privatehealthcareaustralia.org.au/aust...

Other resources 

Queensland Health have developed an online telehealth training packafe that provides training and resources for clinical aspects of telehealth use.

To enrol in the package visit www.health.qld.gov.au/cunninghamcentre/activities/... If you are extenal to Queensland, you can email AHET@health.qld.gov.au and request access.

The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine has some handy factsheets for getting started with telehealth:
Organising telehealth services in your practice
https://www.acrrm.org.au/docs/default-source/all-f...
Quick Guide to Getting Started with Telehealth in Primary Care
https://www.acrrm.org.au/docs/default-source/all-f...
Advice on Risk Management when using video conferencing software for clinical video consultations
https://www.acrrm.org.au/docs/default-source/all-f...

NBN Co have a COVID-19 blog which contains up to date information on connections and plan specifics as well as some good tips for how to maximise the capacity of your service
https://www.nbnco.com.au/blog/the-nbn-project/coro...

Check out this presentation on better phone communication in the time of COVID-19
https://zenodo.org/record/3750700#.XpZZDsgzaUm

Australian Privacy Principles
https://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/australian-privacy...

The following websites have some more indepth information some great free resources:
https://www.umbo.com.au/training
https://www.karenfinnin.com/how-to-choose-a-telehe...
Disclaimer: the two websites listed above are private businesses and SARRAH would like to disclose that Ed Johnson is the Managing Director of Umbo and a member of the SARRAH board of directors