Is your practice ready for Telehealth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The expansion of COVID Telehealth continues to change. Commencing 13 March 2020 and extending until 31 March 2021, temporary MBS telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers.
Videoconference services are the preferred approach for substituting a face-to-face consultation. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providers will also be able to offer audio-only services via telephone if video is not available. There are separate items available for the audio-only services.
No specific equipment is required to provide Medicare-compliant telehealth services. Services can be provided through widely available video calling apps and software such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Duo, GoToMeeting and others.
Please note that some free versions of these applications (i.e. non-commercial versions) may not meet applicable laws for security and privacy. Practitioners must ensure that their chosen telecommunications solution meets their clinical requirements and satisfies privacy laws.
The RACGP has developed guides to support GPs in consulting remotely via phone and video during COVID-19. These resources are available via the RACGP website
The Department of Health provides an email advice service for providers seeking advice on interpretation of the MBS items and rules and the Health Insurance Act and associated regulations. If you have a query relating to the COVID19 telehealth MBS items please email AskMBS@health.gov.au
Digital health in general practice
In partnership with WA Primary Health Alliance, Rural Health West provides practice support, guidance and advice through Practice Assist. Practice Assist offers one-on-one phone support to general medical and allied health practices in Western Australia, and has a wide range of fact sheets relating to digital health in general practice.
Practice Assist: 1800 227 747 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital health education
Below is a list of links to digital health education that may be of interest to rural health professionals: