What is a Telehealth appointment?
Telehealth is a way of talking to and seeing health professionals whose services aren’t available close to where you live. Telehealth uses video cameras, computers or mobile phones to connect you to your doctor or clinician. You will be able to see, hear and talk to the health care professional, exactly as if you were talking to them in person.
Initially your Telehealth consultation might feel a bit strange but once you begin, you will see that can be just as effective as seeing your podiatrist in a clinic setting. The process will be exactly the same but without the addition of a physical examination.
How does a Telehealth appointment work?
A Telehealth appointment is just like a normal appointment, only you will be seeing and speaking to your podiatrist on a screen. Your podiatrist will already have relevant information about you to support your Telehealth consultation. However, you may be asked to bring specific health information with you to your appointment. You can also have a family member, carer or friend with you if you wish.
The video conference connection is made through a personalised link which will be sent to you in an email confirming your appointment time and date. When the time comes for your appointment, all you need to do is click on that link which will open a new screen on your web browser. It will either show a blank screen with text letting you know your podiatrist is yet to join the video call, or you will be able to see and hear your podiatrist.
Due to your podiatrist having other appointments scheduled during the same day, there is a possibility that they may be running a few minutes late - please be patient if this is the case and don’t worry, they haven’t forgotten you!
Is there a cost for a Telehealth appointment?
The cost for a Telehealth consultation is the same as if you were attending a face-to-face appointment at the clinic.
If you have a Medicare referral (known as a Chronic Disease Management plan), you will be bulk-billed for the consultation.
If you are a privately paying patient, you will be required to pay for your Telehealth appointment beforehand by Credit / Debit Card over the phone. You may be able to claim from your private health insurance company if you have podiatry on your extras cover; at this stage, not every company has adopted the Telehealth codes so you will need to check whether you qualify. Upon receipt of payment, you will be emailed an invoice with the Telehealth item code which you can use to claim your rebate online.
Is Telehealth private?
Just like a normal appointment, your Telehealth consultation will be private and confidential. You will be in a private room and the podiatrist will also be in a private room. There will be nobody else listening to or watching the video call take place except for the podiatrist, you and any family member or carer you choose to have with you.
The web-based program through which your video consultation is conducted is safe and secure, however your consent for this is still required.
Why do I need to sign a consent form?
Telehealth consultations are a new way of delivering health services. Therefore you will be asked to sign a consent form to ensure you understand what is involved in a Telehealth consultation and agree to participate. You can withdraw your permission at any time either before or during your Telehealth appointment. If you do, the Telehealth appointment will end and you will need to reschedule to see your podiatrist in person.
If you are a patient who has been to the clinic already, verbal consent is all that is required. If you are a new patient having never seen a podiatrist at PodCo Podiatry before, you will be required to fill in a patient information form as well as sign a Telehealth consent form.
What should I do to prepare for my Telehealth appointment?
You can get the best from your Telehealth consultation by doing the following:
As with your face-to-face appointments, you should have your mobile on silent or turned off
Make sure you have a good internet connection and a fast web browser such as Chrome or Safari. If the connection is too slow, you and your podiatrist will not be able to see or hear each other properly and the consultation may have to be terminated
Make sure you choose a quiet, well-lit room so you can hear your podiatrist and so that your podiatrist can see you. Try not to have light behind you, instead face toward a window or have a light source in front of you
A large room is best as your podiatrist may ask you to demonstrate an exercise or perform a movement to watch how you move. For this you will need to move away from the device you are using and have the camera show your whole body
If you have difficulty with mobility, it may help to have a family member or carer around that you can ask for assistance
Speak clearly so your voice can be picked up by the microphone; you may choose to use headphones with a mic attached to help with this
What happens if the Telehealth equipment doesn’t work properly?
Sometimes, Telehealth appointments cannot go ahead because of unexpected technical difficulties. In the case of being unable to continue the consultation online, your podiatrist will ring you back on the telephone, or you will be offered another Telehealth appointment.
If you have any further questions, or want to make a Telehealth appointment call 9337 8737.