Standards for general practices offering video consultations
The RACGP continues to play a leading role in the design and implementation of exciting e-health initiatives in the Australian primary health care setting. The RACGP welcomes the improved access to specialists and better health outcomes that video consultations are expected to deliver.
Video consultations are an alternative option to face-to-face consultations. While in many situations a face-to-face consultation will be the preferred option, there are scenarios where a video consultation that is clinically justifiable will enable more convenient and accessible health care delivery without compromising patient safety.
As part of the Australian Government’s national telehealth initiative rolled out in July 2011, the Department of Health Ageing engaged the RACGP to develop standards for general practices offering video consultations. A copy of the standards was sent to every general practice in Australia in October 2011.
The Standards for general practices offering video consultations is an addendum to the RACGP Standards for general practices (4th edition) and includes additional explanatory notes on 23 existing criteria from the Standards which have been deemed to be of particular significance for safety and quality in a video consultation context between a patient and a specialist at a distant location.
Priority areas included are clinical issues such as:
- determining if a video consultation is appropriate for the patient
- a process to identify participants in video consultations
- risk management protocols
- privacy and security of the consultation and data
- reliable and secure technical systems fit for clinical purpose.
The Addendum refers to telehealth resources that have been developed to assist GPs and practices with managing video consultations. These include:
- patient information (FAQs) brochure template
- video consultation booking checklist template
- post-video consultation patient evaluation template
- video consultation etiquette factsheet.
Resources are available at www.racgp.org.au/telehealth
Because video consultations are a new form of healthcare delivery for general practices, the RACGP intends to review the Addendum in October 2012 to learn from the experience of GPs and other stakeholders in the field.
If you would like to comment on the Addendum, share your knowledge and experience, or if you have a query, please contact the standards team in the Clinical Improvement Unit at the RACGP National office. Send your feedback or query to firstname.lastname@example.org