Telehealth is the delivery of healthcare services via phone or video call on a mobile or computer/laptop using secure online platforms. This allows people to access healthcare services from home, work or any location.
I am now offering phone and video call consultations. This service has been made available because of the challenges and impact of COVID-19. The potential physical and mental health impact of isolation and being confined to our homes is significant and real. This means you can still access my high-quality care using a phone, mobile or computer, and I can help you stay healthy over this difficult time if you cannot come into the clinic.
Phone and video call physiotherapy consultations has also been a long-time dream and goal for myself and the whole physiotherapy community, with the aim of making physiotherapy more accessible to all Australians. This is now possible with advances in safe and secure healthcare technology. My telehealth and phone service is undertaken in accordance with Australian Physiotherapy Association guidelines and is supported by the health funds.
1. How does Telehealth work?
My overall approach to the initial interview, physical examination, determining a treatment plan and implementation of the plan is exactly the same as a face-to-face consultation.
Whether it is by phone or video call the initial interview here is no different to a face-to-face consultation. It is worth noting here that an experienced and expert physiotherapist is able to assess for and exclude serious pathology and make an accurate diagnosis based on the interview alone.
A physical examination is only possible with the video call system in telehealth. Again, it is the same as a face-to-face consultation; and it will include you showing me where you hurt and/or what you have difficulty doing, your postures, how you move, your ability to relax your body, as well as testing your strength, fitness and balance. As I ask you to perform these tests, my observation and your feedback will help me in understanding your problem – again no different to a face-to-face consultation.
With the implementation of your management plan, education and advice to address the factors causing your pain are vital; and I also guide and teach you exercises that are specific to you and your problem.
2. Isn’t physio about using “hands-on” treatment techniques? How can I get better without “hands-on” treatment?
Based on research evidence on pain and injury management and in my extensive experience, the reality is that people get better when they are educated on what is causing their pain and helping them to make sense of their pain. Serious pathology only makes up a small percentage of any type of musculoskeletal pain and it can be assessed and excluded in the initial interview by an experienced physiotherapist. Once serious pathology has been excluded, people also get better when they are reassured their body is strong, healthy and normal and that it is safe and healthy to get moving and get active again. Also, people get better when they are given practical and specific strategies to help make movement more comfortable.
Furthermore, people get better when specific lifestyle issues are addressed as required e.g. stress, anxiety, depression, sleep, diet and weight management. It should be noted here that treatment effectiveness is strongly linked to the level of trust that the patient has in his/her physiotherapist. It is more often the case, that it is these strategies that bring about real change in people’s pain and not the massaging, joint mobilisations or manipulations or needling that many believe are the only approaches used by physiotherapists. This is what should be happening in face to face consultations, and therefore a consultation by video call makes no difference. It can and should be exactly the same.
3. Does telehealth work?
Yes. There is emerging evidence that shows physiotherapy via telehealth is just as effective as face-to-face consultations pain management, especially when done by an experienced physiotherapist. Here are 2 recent research papers of reasonable quality.
4. Will anyone other than my physiotherapist have access to your medical information?
No. I use a telehealth platform called Coviu, and it is encrypted and secure. Only I have access to your records. You may visit their site at coviu.com.
5. What do I need to set up and to have access to a video call consultation?
If there are any issues with the set up, I can walk and talk you through it on the phone as you are in front of your computer.
Most computers and laptops are capable of handling the video call feature. You will need a stable and good internet or wi-fi connection. I will need your email address. When the appointment is booked, you will be sent a link to your email shortly before your appointment. Then all you have to do is to go to your email inbox, open this email and click on the link. Then you may have to check that the camera and microphone are unblocked or enabled in your browser. Finally, you follow the prompts to be taken to my online clinic. You will be asked to take a photo of yourself by the platform, and this is a temporary photo for the session.
Accessing video call is also possible on tablets, iPads and mobile. The requirements and set up is exactly the same.
6. I am still unsure if Telehealth is right for me, can I call to discuss?
Yes, please call me on 9569 0034 or 0405 131 390 to discuss. If I am not available, please leave a message including your name and phone number, and I will get back you to ASAP. Otherwise, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
7. How do I book a phone or video call appointment?
You can book online through my website or accessing my listing on google. You can also call on 9569 0034 and 0405131390 to book.
8. Is this service just limited to people to people in Summer Hill and Hurlstone Park and the Inner West?
No, the amazing thing about Telehealth is that anyone form anywhere in Australia can access my high-quality care using a phone, mobile or computer. For video call consultations, all that is needed is a good internet/wi-fi connection.
7. Who can use this service?
Anyone. New and existing patients. If you are a current patient coming in for face-to-face sessions, you may even choose to switch to telehealth.
8. Is telehealth supported by Medicare, private health funds and work cover and compulsory third party?
Yes, but you will need a referral form a GP, which is already the requirement anyway for physiotherapy through Medicare, DVA, Workcover and CTP.
So the difference here is with private health funds. To be able to claim your health fund rebate, you will need a GP referral for telehealth physiotherapy.
10. How do I pay for a telehealth consult?
As you book online, you will be prompted to pay for the consultation by credit card/debit card. This is done by online my diary system, which is safe and encrypted. My diary system is run by Halaxy and you can visit their website at halaxy.com.
If you book a telehealth consult over the phone, you can choose to pay by bank transfer or I can take credit card payments over the phone. I email the invoice as you book the appointment, and I email a receipt when payment is received.
Payment for phone or video call consultations before the appointment time is preferable.
Again. I work with 100% money back guarantee, if you are unhappy with the service or I am unable to help you achieve your goals.
11. Cost of a video call consult? How do I price it?
In pricing my phone and video call consultations, I have decided to factor in that telehealth is relatively new and emerging in Australia. So it can be understandable if people are somewhat reluctant to take up the service, therefore my prices will reflect this until 2021.