RACGP aged care clinical guide (Silver Book)

Silver Book - Part C

Telehealth and video consultations with RACFs

Last revised: 20 Jul 2023

The Australian Digital Health Agency defines telehealth as ‘the transmission of images, voice and data between two or more sites using telecommunications to provide health services, such as clinical advice, consultation, education, and training services’.1 A telehealth consultation provides patients with a consultation through video or telephone instead of face-to-face health services. These types of telehealth consultations are defined as follows:

  • Telephone – the use of your mobile telephone or landline to talk to your existing patients
  • Video – a video call with your existing patient using a device that has a video platform (this may be specified by you).

The RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition) also uses the definitions provided above and outlines telehealth requirements for general practices in the following sections:

  • Criterion C1.1 – Information about your practice
  • Criterion C1.2 – Communications
  • Criterion C1.4 – Interpreter and other communication services
  • Criterion C1.5 – Costs associated with care initiated by the practice
  • Criterion C2.3 – Accessibility of services
  • Criterion C3.3 – Emergency response plan
  • Criterion C5.2 – Clinical autonomy for practitioners
  • Criterion C5.3 – Clinical handover
  • Criterion C6.3 – Confidentiality and privacy of health and other information
  • Criterion C6.4 – Information security
  • Criterion GP1.1 – Responsive system for patient care
  • Criterion GP2.2 – Follow-up systems
  • Criterion GP5.1 – Practice facilities
  • Criterion GP5.2 – Practice equipment.

The Federal Government has provided investment for PHNs to support RACFs to improve infrastructure around telehealth.

The RACGP resource Telephone and video consultations in general practice: Flowcharts can be adapted for use with aged care services. Practices can alter and amend their systems and processes for conducting telephone and video consultations to suit their usual operations. This may be a useful resource for RACFs to adapt to their facility.

Virtual emergency department (ED) initiatives, such as Virtual ED in Victoria and My Emergency in NSW, are being rolled out to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions. An ambulance may call the virtual ED on behalf of the patient using the transfer notes provided by the aged care facility or locum.

This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

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