Video consultation information for patients
What is a video consultation?
A consultation conducted by video conference between you and your specialist at a distant location.
What are the advantages of video consultations?
Every patient's situation is different, but in general the benefits of this service are:
- improved access to specialist care
- reduced waiting time to see a specialist
- reduced travel time and costs
- reduced absence from work.
How can I have a video consultation with my 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. Not all specialists offer video consultations. We encourage you to have a 'supported' video consultation, which means you will be in with your GP or other health professional 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. Note, you must be more than 15 Km 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 GPs practice. To check your eligibility visit www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/publishing.nsf/Content/locator#metro
Do I have to participate in a video consultation?
No. You are able to attend a face-to-face consultation with your specialist if you prefer. A video consultation will only happen if your doctors consider it safe and suitable and you are happy to have a video consultation.
Where are the video consultations provided?
You can participate in a video consultation from your home, or your GPs practice. In rural/remote areas, some local Hospitals may offer this facility.
Who will arrange the video consultation?
We have a video consultation coordinator who arranges video consultations with you and your GP (or Practice Nurse or Aboriginal Health Worker).
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
Video consultations require a lot of coordination at our end and at the GP's end 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 24 hours' notice is provided a cancellation fee may apply.
How should I prepare for a video consultation appointment?
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
- if you have a question or need help during the video consultation, just ask.
What happens at the video consultation appointment?
You (and your GP) 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.
Who will be present?
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.
What if I want to have a private discussion with my specialist?
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.
How private is the video consultation?
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.
What if I need to be examined?
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.
What if I have special needs?
If you have special needs such as an interpreter please let our video consultation coordinator know and they will make a note of these when your consultation with the specialist is confirmed.
Will the video consultation be recorded?
No. Our practice does not record video consultations and we do not give patients permission to make their own recordings of a video consultation.
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 much will it cost?
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 settled at the beginning of the video conference and paid via credit card. If you do not have a credit card, please contact us at least one week before your video consultation to arrange for a direct deposit.
Am I eligible for a Medicare rebate?
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.
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.
What if I have questions?
If you have any medical questions about whether a video consultation may be suitable for you, please talk to your GP or Specialist.
If you have any general questions about how video consultations work, please talk to our Telehealth Coordinator whose contact details can be found below.
Where can I get more general information about Telehealth Consultations?
For more information about patient eligibility and payments
Jean Hailes Medical Centre Telehealth Coordinator:
(03) 9535 6719
Content updated 1 November 2012
Disclaimer: The information above has been adapted from © The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2011