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Telehealth guides

Telephone and video consultations in general practice: Flowcharts

Flowchart 1. Setting up your practice for telephone and video consultations

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Last revised: 04 Sep 2023

Flowchart 1. Setting up your practice for telephone and video consultations

Hold a practice meeting (eg virtually with the whole practice team)

  • Decide what type of consultations will be offered via telephone and video call.
  • Determine who will be working from the practice or off site, and the requirements for both situations.
  • Decide what hardware and software applications will be used/required. Practitioners must ensure that their chosen telecommunications solution meets their clinical requirements and satisfies privacy and security laws.
  • Ensure your practice has a clear arrangement with your IT provider, confirming the provider is on hand to help with any required changes to your systems.
  • Ensure all staff are clear on the plans and check for any questions/concerns.
  • Consider what training requirements might be needed and how they will be delivered to staff.
 

Set up required technology

  • Ensure all practice team staff have a reliable internet connection, whether working in or outside the practice (eg use Speedtest to check connections).
  • Ensure all staff have adequate technology set up, with up-todate hardware and software.
  • For practice team members working off site, ensure staff have communication systems to and from the practice (email, telephone, fax, secure messaging) and ‘read and write’ options for the practice’s clinical information system, and access to My Health Record if applicable.
  • Test all hardware and software.
  • Test the processes – all staff to make a dummy call to test the technical aspects, all practice staff to test the process, including clinical staff making an entry in a patient’s record if off site. Arrange for patient/layperson to test the process by participating in a dummy consultation with each practice team member.
  • Provide training to practice team staff where required.
  • Ensure staff know who to call for IT assistance, their availability and scope of assistance available.
 

Set up workflows

  • Update practice website with information for patients about telephone and video consultations now offered by the practice, including information about what technology, software and hardware they will need (Box 1).
  • Update on-hold message to advise that the practice now offers telephone and video consultations.
  • Develop information sheet for patients on what to expect in a telephone or video consultation.
  • Update any practice templates or booking systems to include options for telephone and video consultations.
  • Implement a system within the practice for verifying a patient’s identity for telephone consultations (for both when the GP calls the patient and when the patient calls the GP).
  • Set up arrangements for follow-up actions – for example, provision of prescriptions, radiology/pathology requests, medical certificates and referrals (refer to the RACGP’s Guide to providing telephone and video consultations in general practice for current recommendations).
  • Set up generic practice email addresses for outgoing emails to patients (eg prescriptions, referrals) and for incoming emails from patients (eg clinical photos, paperwork for GP to complete).
  • Set up processes for when in-person contact is required (instances where patients need to collect paperwork from the practice or if a face-to-face consultation in the practice is indicated).
  • Ensure there is a clear process for members of the practice team to report where a system or process is not working satisfactorily and a process to review the issue.
Box 1. Telephone and video consultations now offered by the practice: Example message

Our practice is now offering telephone and video appointments to patients where appropriate. If you would like to book a telephone or video consultation, please contact our reception team on XX XXXX XXXX and request a telephone or video consultation. A date and time will be made, and your GP will contact you via the agreed method on, or around, this time. For telephone consultation we will call your nominated mobile or landline number. Video consultation can be via Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

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