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Telehealth and telephone appointments

Your practice may choose to use an integrated third-party vendor for telehealth and telephone appointments, or use a consumer-grade video conference solution. This article explains how both methods work in Bp Premier.

The Department of Health has released guidance on the new MBS telehealth and telephone consult item codes for COVID-19, available here. The Department of Health has also released a Fact Sheet advising of which patient groups will be eligible for the temporary MBS COVID-19 items.

For further information on telehealth and telephone consultations:

Telehealth appointments using integrated third-party software

The following Bp Partner Network members offer a telehealth solution integrated with Bp Premier:

If your practice already engages with one or more of these vendors, continue to book and run telehealth appointments as normal. Contact the vendor directly if you want to confirm the specific details of how that vendor's integration works with Bp Premier. For practices running Jade SP2 and later, this article explains how to set up and book integrated third-party telehealth appointments.

If your practice uses an online booking vendor not listed above, contact the vendor directly for information on booking Telehealth consults for COVID-19. If you wish to engage a telehealth software provider, register with that software provider directly.

Telehealth appointments using non-integrated software

If your practice has not engaged any third-party vendor, and does not wish to, your practice may run telehealth appointments using consumer-grade video conferencing or telecommunications applications.

Consent and security

Your practice should consider any implications of using 'consumer' telecommunications applications over standards-based telehealth platforms, including but not limited to:

  • the potential for unsecure communications
  • any need to record patient consent to participate before the consult
  • whether and for how long patient telecommunications IDs are stored in the patient record or appointment book.

Telehealth consult overview

If your practice intends on using a telecommunications application for telehealth appointments, your practice will have to:

  • Select an appointment type of 'Telehealth Consult' when booking.
  • Arrange provision of the software to both providers and patients, or communicate with each patient which software they would prefer to use.
  • Record the patient's ID for the telecommunications software (the identifier that allows one party to find and connect to the other party).
  • At the start of a telehealth consult, the provider must manually start the software and establish the connection to the patient using the patient's ID for that software.
  • When finalising the visit, the provider will select one of the MBS Telehealth items recently issued for the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

What will the process look like?

Your practice will decide how best to incorporate telecommunications software into your consultation workflow. However, the flow below summarises the actions required to ensure that appointments are marked with the correct type, and that the provider has the right details at hand to start the telehealth consult.

  1. Book the appointment with an Appointment Type of 'Telehealth Consult' or 'Telephone Consult' as appropriate.
  2. Select a Telehealth Consult Appointment Type

  3. At the time of booking, confirm the preferred software to use and obtain the patient's ID for that software. Best Practice Software suggest two ways of recording this information:
  4. Appointment details

    In the Details text box when booking the appointment, which makes the patient's ID available from the text in the appointment slot (right-click > View text).

    Record the patient's IDPatient ID in appointment book

    Patient demographics

    In the Appointment notes text box in Patient Details (right-click > View details), which makes the patient's ID available to the provider when the visit is started.

    Patient ID in demographicsPatient ID on visit start

  5. In Today's notes, the provider will select a Visit type of 'Telehealth' for the consult.
  6. Select visit type of Telehealth

  7. When the provider finalises the visit, any new MBS Telehealth items will be available from the Finalise Visit screen (if the practice has installed the March Revision 1 Data Update).
  8. IMPORTANT  Depending on Department of Health stipulations, practices or providers that bill privately may need to change the Account type for finalisation to 'Direct Bill', if temporary Telehealth MBS item numbers are to be bulk-billed only. This is indicated in the example below.

    Finalise telehealth COVID consult

  9. Practice staff can process the account as per your practice guidelines for telehealth consult payments.