What is Telehealth?
- Healthcare from a distance
- Specialist consult via video conferencing
- Saving time, money and stress
Telehealth, or Telemedicine, uses information and communication technology to bring a city based specialist and a patient living in a regional, rural or remote area together. Neither the patient nor the doctor having to spend precious time or money travelling.
Telehealth uses computers and video cameras. It can be done using something as simple and cheap as a computer with a webcam and internet connection and the program Skype to expensive, technical video conferencing equipment located in hospitals and using dedicated high bandwidth cables.
Telehealth is still a real consult. You can see and hear each other, talk and ask questions. You can even watch / show a presentation or chart to explain something. You’re just not in the same room together.
Many Telehealth consults have a doctor or a nurse sitting in at the patient end, but this isn’t essential. In fact, for remote patients, the “appointment” may actually occur in the patient’s own home.
The key feature of Telehealth is to provide non-metropolitan patients with access to specialists who may not regularly visit their area. It can save everyone a lot of time, money and stress.
The Telehealth Appointment
- The doctor’s referral
- Booking an appointment
- Follow up
- Genetic testing
A referral for a Telehealth appointment is the same as the referral for any specialist appointment. It can come from a GP or a specialist. At Sydney Cancer Genetics we manage all our Telehealth appointments from our Sydney office. The referral can be emailed, posted or faxed. See our FAQ Drs page for more details.
Our appointments are also managed centrally – call 02 9473 8833. If you will be coming to your GP for your Telehealth appointment, we will contact them to organise a mutually convenient time. In some locations we run Telehealth clinics on regular days.
Just like a face to face consult, a follow up appointment will be made if needed.
Genetic testing, via a simple blood test, can be organised via your local GP or pathology centre. There is no extra charge for sending the sample to the metropolitan lab. As with a face to face consult, genetic testing is only organised after we have discussed the benefits and limitations.
Our Telehealth patient information sheet has more information.
How does Telehealth work?
- How do I pay and what does it cost
- Where can telehealth be provided
- Can a family member be with me
Sydney Cancer Genetics bulk bills for Telehealth appointments. That means there is no gap or out of pocket expenses if you have a medicare card.
Telehealth consults can be organised almost anywhere in Australia (including islands) as long as there is a good internet connection. Many general practices have a interest in Telehealth and have many different specialists “visiting”. Speak to your GP or call our Sydney office for more details.
One of the great benefits of Telehealth is that it is much quicker and less expensive than travelling to a large city to see a specialist. This makes it easier for a family member or support person to be with you. However, just like a face to face appointment, if your family member is related to you by blood and the information may also be relevant to them, they should also make their own appointment so that their specific circumstances can be taken into account and a management plan can be personalised for them.