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Guide to providing telephone and video consultations in general practice
Last revised: 04 Sep 2023
As the healthcare sector deals with the current COVID-19 situation, general practices are rapidly changing the way care is accessed and delivered to ensure the safety of their practice teams, patients and the broader community. One of these changes is increasing the ability for general practice consultations to be conducted via telehealth. Formal measures are being taken by the Australian Government to support healthcare practitioners to use telehealth, where appropriate, by introducing new Medicare Benefits Schedule item numbers.
This guide will help specialist general practitioners (GPs) and broader practice teams provide safe and effective telephone and video consultations during these unprecedented times, and outlines the clinical, administrative and technical considerations for practices introducing this mode of healthcare delivery for the first time. This document is a guide only, and will not cover all scenarios and patient circumstances that may arise in your practice and during consultations.
The increased use of telehealth consultations is to enable general practices to better support their patients during this time of crisis. General practice consultations should continue to be delivered under a high-quality general practice framework, as defined in The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP’s) Vision for general practice and a sustainable healthcare system. This can only occur where this is an established relationship between the patient and GP or general practice and a wide range of services are available. The RACGP does not support the concept of ondemand telehealth consultations between unknown patients and providers.
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