Telehealth is a generic term used for a video consultation between a patient and a health professional. This may be with a GP in the practice and a specialist, or it may be with a nurse and GP at home. Benefits for patients include those that live in rural and remote areas who would otherwise travel long distances for medical advice, patients who are not easily transportable and aged care residents. Telehealth also enables health professionals to communicate more easily and improve continuity of care.

Medicare benefits are available for video consultations between specialists and general practices with patients who are located in telehealth eligible areas. Medicare benefits are also available for eligible aged care facilities and Aboriginal Medical Services throughout Australia. For more information on the benefits available please visit the Medicare Australia website.

Telehealth available at Latrobe Regional Hospital

Latrobe Regional Hospital now provides telehealth consultations for patients who are referred to their paediatric, endocrinology (diabetic patients) or physician (chronic heart failure) specialist outpatient clinics. The primary objective of the Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) Telehealth project is to improve access to specialist outpatient clinics at LRH and improve the utilisation and efficiency of these clinics by reducing the number of patients who fail to attend appointments. This will be achieved through the provision of telehealth consultations, either hosted by eligible local GP clinics or within the patient’s own home using an existing and well-developed model of care.

Eligible patients include those who are:

  • Accepting of the telehealth model of care
  • Attending a ‘review’ appointment
  • Reside at least 15 km by road from LRH
  • Are identified as appropriate for a telehealth consultation by the treating specialist

The exception to the above is a patient attending an Aboriginal Medical Service. In this case, the >15km minimum distance criteria does not apply.

A general practitioner or another health professional with a Medicare provider number can also be with the patient during the specialist telehealth consultation to provide clinical support. This is called a supported consultation.

GP clinics that are geographically located >15km by road to LRH

Read more about Telehealth at Latrobe Regional Hospital.

Download the LRH Telehealth Project Toolkit for GPs and Clinicians here, and for more information, contact Barb Radley, Latrobe Regional Hospital Telehealth Facilitator during business hours on 5173 8022 or bradley@lrh.com.au

Latrobe Regional Hospital Telehealth Update – 7 July 2017

The LRH Chronic Heart Failure telehealth clinic has ‘gone live’ – which means cardiac patients who travel considerable distances to attend their review appointments will now have an alternative option for receiving specialist care. The addition of outpatient telehealth to this clinic will complement the model of care currently offered in the Paediatric and Endocrinology clinics. 

The LRH telehealth service, which connects eligible patients to their specialist via video call, has so far saved patients more than 13,324km in avoided travel. The Expansion of a telemedicine model into the patient’s home project commenced in December2016 and has provided 48 episodes of care for Gippsland patients – with an average saving of almost 280km for each specialist appointment.

Funded by Better Care Victoria, the project aims to embed telehealth as a model of care in the Chronic Heart Failure, Paediatric and Endocrinology outpatient clinics and enable patients to access a consultation with their specialist without the burden of travel. Key milestones include the development of a quarterly telehealth newsletter and the establishment of partnerships with medical clinics throughout Gippsland. 

Latrobe Regional Hospital services a huge geographic area – almost 42,000km² – so it’s not surprising the interest in having a telehealth appointment is gathering momentum!  For more information, please click here to visit the dedicated LRH telehealth webpage or contact Barb Radley, Telehealth Project Worker ph. 5173 8022.