Telehealth service providers were already gaining traction in the healthcare industry, long before the COVID-19 pandemic caused havoc across the world. Having the option to book an online video consultation with a doctor as opposed to visiting a GP at their local medical practice is a much more convenient and time-saving alternative.
However, as Australia is slowly decreasing its strict regulations regarding the Coronavirus, how can you benefit from speaking to your doctor online rather than in person? What exactly is a telehealth service provider? How can you use their services and what exactly can they offer you?
What is a telehealth service provider?
Also known as telemedicine, a telehealth service provider is a platform in the form of an app or a website which gives you access to have a video or chat consultation with a vast range of qualified and experienced doctors. You will still receive the same professional level of healthcare in terms of service, medical advice and confidentiality.
Telehealth providers use the latest in information and digital communication technology to offer high-quality medical advice over an audio or video consultation.
Is using their services easy?
It is very easy to use a telemedicine provider. To begin, first download the provider’s app onto either your smartphone, desktop computer, tablet device or laptop. You will also need access to a solid internet connection.
You will then need to create your account to sign up to their services. Once you have provided your personal information, you will then need to complete a quick form which asks for some basic information such as your previous medical history and reason for needing to speak with a doctor. This information is only for assisting the doctor during your online appointment.
Once you have answered these questions, you can then start booking your online appointment. You will be given a list of available doctors and their available appointment times. Simply book an appointment for a time that suits you best, then you will be sent a link to your appointment a few minutes before the appointment will begin.
What happens to my information?
The personal information you provide before having a video consultation with a doctor is solely for helping the GP for when your appointment begins. It will give them the information they need to assist you quicker such as what medication you are currently taking, your current dosage and more.
All your personal information, conversations, medical history and data is kept secure and strictly confidential. Every telehealth provider that operates in Australia is required to protect all of your private medical information according to strict Australian privacy legislation. They are also required to utilise the latest VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), cloud storage and firewall software to ensure all information is protected should a data breach on their network occur.
What services can they offer?
Many telemedicine providers can offer professional online medical services such as:
Sick leave/carer's certificates
If you’ve fallen sick and are required to provide your employer with a medical certificate, having to leave your house just to get a piece of paper is the last thing you need. By using a telehealth service, you can easily obtain a carer’s or sick leave medical certificate without having to step foot inside of a busy medical clinic.
Repeat and new prescriptions
Just like getting a medical certificate, taking time out of your day to get a prescription can be very inconvenient and time-consuming. By using a telemedicine provider, you can get new and repeat prescriptions for many low-level medications including contraceptives, antihypertensives, diabetic medication and many more.
Visiting a medical clinic to speak with a doctor just to get a referral to then speak with another medical professional is not the most convenient option, especially with busy work schedules and other commitments. Instead, you can have a video consultation with an online doctor and receive a referral to a specialist without needing to take time out of your busy day.
Can I use a telehealth service for anything medical related?
The only time you should not be using a telehealth service is when you are experiencing a medical emergency such as feeling sharp pains down your arm, feeling faint or having difficulty breathing. These critical situations need to be handled by a medical professional at a hospital or in-person.
Apart from medical emergencies, you cannot use telehealth services to get a prescription for high-level medications such as ADHD medication due to certain ingredients they contain.
As you can see, there are many benefits to using a telehealth service and having an online video consultation with a doctor. Whether you need to have a general consultation with a doctor, a prescription, a medical certificate or a referral, download a telemedicine app and start benefiting today!