Welcome to Telehealth Services

Metro South Health encourages clinicians to deliver services via telehealth to provide patients with choice when accessing healthcare. Below is a range of information and resources for staff to assist in developing services.
Contact us

For Enquiries contact via email to MSH Telehealth Services

mshhs.telehealth@health.qld.gov.au

 

What is Telehealth

Telehealth is the delivery of health services and information through the use of videoconferencing technology. Telehealth can be leveraged to support new and innovative service delivery models in the health sector and facilitate access to safe, sustainable and appropriate healthcare that is simple, equitable and timely for all Queenslanders. The Queensland Health definitions of telehealth include:
  • Live stream video for clinical and educational sessions.
  • store and forward telehealth.
  • teleradiology for diagnostic imaging
  • home monitoring equipment and telehealth services
Benefits of Telehealth
  • improves access and patient centred care
  • reduces travel, time and inconvenience for families and their carers
  • better access to peer support and educational sessions for health professionals
  • better patient outcomes
  • greater efficiency in delivering healthcare
  • supports delivering healthcare across the state
  • viable alternative to traditional healthcare delivery
  • reduces need to attend appointments where face to face attendance may put patient at a medical risk
Who can use Telehealth

Telehealth Services is used primarily in clinical outpatient settings to connect patients and clinicians for specialist appointments.

Equipment and setup

Equipment

To successfully participate in a videoconference call you will require:

Device
  • An appropriate device – Desktop computer, laptop, iPad, tablet, smartphone or hardwired videoconference system.
Webcam
  • Additional equipment may be required if your device doesn't have these features built in. For example, Webcam, Jabra Speaker or Headset.
  • View the Queensland Health Purchasing guide by clicking here
Video Conferencing System
  • There are a number of rooms with established video conferencing systems, these rooms can be booked via the room booking system (RMS)on QHEPS. Click here to access
Working Remotely
  • If you are working remotely and would like to utilise the Telehealth Video Conferencing System please contact 3176 8169 for more information.

Technology

Cisco Jabber
  • Cisco Jabber allows individuals to videoconference from their PC, laptop, iPad, iPhone or Android device. It can be used for point-to-point, scheduled and collaboration meeting room conference video calls. Users also have the ability to share content with other participants.
  • For all your Cisco Jabber for Windows licensing and/or hardware requirements, please visit the Online IT Store to place an order.
WebRTC
  • Is a free, in browser videoconference platform available for QH clinicians to use from both Queensland Health and non-Queensland Health computers and devices. For more information view the Quick reference guide by clicking here.
Telehealth Portal
  • The Queensland Health Telehealth Portal provides an easy, safe and secure way for patients and their care team to videoconference with health professionals within Queensland Health. The portal uses a web browser on a computer or mobile device application to connect with the existing telehealth network.
Telehealth Virtual Clinics
  • The Telehealth Virtual Clinic is a video conference management tool and has been developed to replicate and manage high volume patient attendance and flow in a virtual environment that is easy to use for health professionals and administration officers. The Virtual Clinic is compatible with Cisco Jabber and WebRTC.
  • The Virtual Clinic allows clinicians the ability to conduct consultations via ”virtual waiting rooms”.
  • Virtual Clinic patients are scheduled for a consultation by the clinic administrative staff and provided with instructions on how to connect.
  • Once the patients have connected, clinicians transfer patients from the waiting room into their consultation rooms via an online dashboard. They can also disconnect patients once their consult has been completed.
Collaboration meeting rooms
  • Collaboration Meeting Rooms (CMRs) are an alternative connection method for QH clinical staff. CMR’s allow you the ability to have a permanent videoconference dial in number to use whenever you may require.
  • CMR’s are self-managed by you and as the owner of a CMR, it is your responsibility to provide CMR dial in number and/or PIN/s to your participants as this information will not be provided by Telehealth Services.
  • For more information visit QHEPS CMR by clicking here
Purchasing Equipment
  • Jabber licenses, hardware systems and extras (such as webcams) can all be purchasing through Online iT Support.
  • For more information visit Telehealth Purchasing on Qheps by clicking here

Education Resources and Videos

Telehealth Services at Metro South has developed a number of useful educational resources to help staff setup their departments teleheatlh service.

Frequently Asked Questions

View the frequently asked questions by clicking the arrow.

What is a dial in number

The dial-in number is the number you enter into a system to connect to a videoconference. This can be either a system number consisting of 8 digits or a Collaboration Meeting Room consisting of 6 digits. Jabber accounts have a text based address.

 

You can connect to a videoconference in one of three ways:

  1. Direct dial: This is where you enter the number for a specific system. This method allows for a maximum of two participants – yourself and the system you are dialling.
  2. Collaborative Meeting Room (CMR): This is a virtual meeting room where multiple participants meet. It is available 24/7 and you can have an unlimited number of participants. Up to 6 participants can dial in via phone by dialling 1300 590 084.
  3. Bridge: This is a connection that allows for multiple systems and telephones to connect to a virtual meeting place.

Bridges:

  • are only available for recorded sessions
  • have to be booked prior to an appointment
  • are only open for the duration of the booked time
  • only allow for the number of connections that were booked.

What is a CMR?

The first participant in the CMR will only see themselves until the second participant connects to the same CMR. CMRs are open 24/7 and allow for multiple connections simultaneously.

Be careful when scheduling patients with CMRs, as there is the potential that patients can dial into one another’s appointments. We recommend that you stagger CMRs when multiple patients are using the portal to connect into the same clinic.

Can we use Skype / WhatsApp / Facetime / Teams or Zoom for Telehealth?

Queensland Health does not have technical support for these options. We recommend that only Queensland Health approved software such as Jabber/MOVI/WebRTC be used in telehealth consultations. Refer to the Cyber Security information sheet for more information and details.

How do patients connect? 

A patient who is seen via telehealth has a number of options to connect to their clinician. Most often they will attend their appointment via their nearest hospital. However, with the introduction of the Queensland Health Telehealth Portal, patients, if appropriate, can now be seen at their GP practice, aged care facility, Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) or from their home. To connect from a non-Queensland Health facility they will need to have good internet speed, sufficient data and a computer with a camera and microphone, or using their tablet or smart phone.

Do I need expensive equipment to do Telehealth?

Not necessarily. If your area has computers in the consultation rooms, these can be outfitted webcams and headsets and a software videoconference platform can be used. View the Technology tab for more details.

Do I have to use ea CISCO (wired or trolley) system to do Telehealth?

Telehealth can be done anywhere there is a computer and webcam, or in a room with wall-mounted videoconferencing equipment.

Can I schedule a telehealth appointment for an outpatient?

Yes, however all telehealth appointments must be scheduled with the appropriate telehealth appointment type. 

 

CHIMS/CIMHA users: These system automatically have a telehealth/videoconference option.

 

ESM users: If the correct appointment type is not available please contact a telehealth coordinator or local scheduling system team to arrange a new appointment type be created.

 

When is the best time to schedule a telehealth appointment?

When telehealth is integrated into an OPD clinic it is generally best to schedule appointments at the start of the clinic. However, each service is unique, so your department will have to decide what the most amenable time for telehealth appointments to occur is. This is to ensure doctors see patients at the scheduled time, as there is much less flexibility for the patient end to ‘wait their turn’. Patients only have the videoconferencing facilities for the duration of their booking at the distal site, therefore will have to vacate the room for the next patient if OPD runs late.

When all patients in a clinic are using telehealth, i.e. a dedicated telehealth clinic block, appointments are scheduled within a fixed date and time. For information on how to schedule a telehealth appointment in ESM view the quick reference guide by clicking here

What patients can be seen via telehealth?

All clinically suitable patients can be see via telehealth. However, there are a few practical and financial considerations which may play a role in selecting the cohort of telehealth patients for your department:

  • Geographical - Telehealth enables clinicians to see patients virtually anywhere in Australia. Patients can be seen at a local hospital, GP practice or even at home via the Queensland Health Telehealth Portal system. However, only patients who live in rural or remote areas can be bulk billed through Medicare. All locations qualify for Activity based funding.
  • Clinical appropriateness – Only clinically appropriate patients should be seen. 
  • Funding – All consultations done via telehealth are eligible to be counted for Activity Based Funding. These consultations attract the same funding as face to face consultations. For a bulk billed clinic, there are additional rules related to the patient’s location. For more information visit the Funding and Medicare Billing tab.

 

How do I schedule the patient end site?

Queensland is divided into 16 Hospital and Health Services areas or HHSs, each HHS has a telehealth coordinator. These coordinators are your first point of call when scheduling a telehealth appointment. They will provide you with contact details for each hospital within their area, and how to book the patient site. Please refer to the HHS coordinator list found here.

View the Quick Reference Guide for booking a distal site click here.

 

How do I notify the patient of a telehealth appointment?

For patients being seen via the Telehealth Portal: If the patient is scheduled several weeks in advance a standard appointment notification letter can be posted to the patient. However, if the appointment is booked less than two weeks in advance, patients should be notified via email. When sending email notifications to the patient be sure to remember to attach informational documents to assist patients with connecting to their appointment.

 

For patients being seen at a local hospital:  If the patient is scheduled far enough in advance a standard appointment notification letter can be posted to the patient. If the appointment is a few days away consider asking the patient permission to send them a SMS message with the details. For more information on patient reminder SMS please contact the team responsible for your scheduling system.

 

View the quick reference guide by clicking here.

 

The appointment letter still has this hospital’s address on it, won’t this confuse the patient?

There are two options for appointment letters:

  1. Have your letter template changed for telehealth appointments to include the Patient Location details. This can be done in ESM.
  2. If your letter template cannot be changed, be sure to cross out the Hospital address and put in the correct address on the letter before sending it to the patient.

 

The patient requires observations before the appointment, how is that organised?

If the requesting doctor needs observations, the patient must be seen at a medical facility or hospital. This is arranged with the distal facility in advance of the booking to ensure a nurse is available to complete the observations. Remember to provide the fax number for the observations to be faxed to on the day. 

 

The patient is no longer clinically appropriate for Telehealth, can they be seen in OPD?

Yes, a patient can be seen via OPD after being seen via Telehealth if the doctor requests an OPD review. Schedule this patient as per normal OPD procedures.

 

We are experiencing technical difficulties and cannot solve the problem through troubleshooting. Where can we get help?

If you cannot solve a problem through basic troubleshooting, you can call the Telehealth Support Unit on 1800 066 888.

 

The clinician could not do the telehealth appointment due to technical difficulties; a phone consultation was done instead. How do I fix this in ESM?

You can only check a telehealth appointment “in and out” in ESM if the consult happened via video conferencing. If a clinician conducts a telephone consult instead of a video conference, the appointment type in ESM must be changed to phone consult, if that is not an available option use chart review.

 

My department want to start a telehealth service, who do I contact to get started?

If you want to start a service contact your Metro South Telehealth Coordinator on 3176 8181 or mshhs.telehealth@health.qld.gov.au.

 

I prefer to see my new patients in person, can I only see review patients via Telehealth?

Yes, each telehealth clinic is unique in that it can cater for individual preferences and clinical appropriateness. If you prefer to only see review patients via telehealth please indicate this to the clinic manager and booking officer, to ensure new patients aren’t triaged or scheduled into your clinic.

 

Can I see my telehealth patients during my face to face clinics?

Yes, you can see OPD and Telehealth patients in the same clinic. When Telehealth is mixed into an OPD clinic it is best to schedule Telehealth appointments in the beginning of the clinic. This is done to ensure doctors see patients at the scheduled time, as there is much less flexibility for the patient end to ‘wait their turn’. When distal sites are booked patients only have the videoconferencing facilities for the duration of their booking. If the OPD runs late, the patient on the distal end will have to vacate the room for the next patient.

 

Who determines which patients are clinically appropriate?

The clinical appropriateness is determined by each clinician in their clinic. When the booking officer receives a referral into telehealth the referral will be sent to each clinician for triaging. If the patient is not appropriate for telehealth they are offered an in person consultation.

 

Who can provide consultations via telehealth?

Anyone can deliver telehealth consultations including consultants, registrars, nurses and other allied health professionals. However only consultants set up for billing are able to bulk bill a consultation.

 

Does a phone consultation count as telehealth?

No, phone consultations do not meet the definition of a telehealth occasion of service. Telehealth only includes consultations conducted via videoconferencing or ‘store and forward’ systems (asynchronous consultations).

 

Does my patient need to consent to do telehealth?

No. Your patient does not need to provide written or verbal consent to do Telehealth for a standard videoconference consultation. They do however have to consent in writing to having their consultation recorded or verbally to having their images stored (i.e. Dermatology).

 

Who will be with the patient during the consultation?

Depending on the clinical need, the patient may be alone, with a nurse in a hospital or with their GP. The providing clinician should decide what is appropriate and this can be arranged at time of scheduling.

 

I have a patient currently admitted to another hospital, can I see them via telehealth?

Yes, inpatients can receive a telehealth consultation however they cannot be bulk billed. This is arranged as per any standard telehealth consultation. The facility which provides telehealth consultations for inpatients at another hospital will receive $200 per consultation. This amount may change over time.

 

How will people refer to my clinic for telehealth?

Telehealth referrals can be received via the MSHHS Central Referral Hub or sent directly to your department for triaging (as per your normal referral processes). If at the time of a review, your patient agrees to telehealth, your administrative officer can schedule the next appointment via telehealth.

 

For review appointments we recommend adding/using a “telehealth” option on your clinic slip or the option in the Mobile Outpatients app.

 

Where do I keep my clinical notes for a telehealth consultation?

Follow the standard Outpatient Department procedure.

 

Quick Reference Guides

View quick reference guides to help navigating Telehealth Services:

Telehealth 101

Technology / Equipment

Cisco Jabber

Telehealth (WebRTC)

Telehealth Portal (For Patients)

  • Telehealth Connection Generator for the Telehealth Portal - click here
  • Telehealth Portal - How to connect - click here

Telehealth Virtual Clinic

Hardware Systems and Purchasing 

Collaborative Meeting Rooms 

  • Telehealth Collaboration Meeting Rooms (CMRs) - click here

Funding / Bulk Billing

  • Outpatient Bulk Billing Fact Sheet - click here
  • Bulk Billing and DB4 Email Agreement Fact Sheet - click here

Admin Processes and Appointment Scheduling

ESM

  • ESM Scheduling a Telehealth Appointment Quick Reference guide - click here
  • Change to Appointment Type Modality due to Covid-19 - click here
  • HBCIS Inpatient Details Entry Screen for Telehealth - click here

CHIMs

CHIMA

SMS and Email

Connection Generator

  • Connection Generator for Telehealth Portal - click here

Admin Workflow and Scripts

  • Telehealth Offer of Appointment - script - click here
  • Telehealth Appointment Offer - Flowchart - click here
  • Telehealth Non Admitted Implementation Checklist - click here

Distal Site Booking Process

  • Booking a Distal Site Quick Reference Guide - click here

Funding and Medicare Billing

Information on Telehealth purchasing specifications can be found by:

Telehealth Medicare Bulk Billing Rules

Medicare bulk billing rules stipulate that patients receiving care via telehealth must be in a remoteness area (RA) 2 or greater location and be seen by a consultant to be eligible for bulk billing. Patients in residential aged care facilities and patients under the care of an Aboriginal Medical Service are eligible for Telehealth bulk billing, regardless of location. All patients require a named referral to the bulk billing doctor (not the head of the department). This will allow a longer referral period and reduces additional administrative work for review appointments.

What are Medicare benefits available for:

  • GP video consultation with a specialist, consultant physician or consultant psychiatrist.
  • Specialists and patients who are located in Telehealth eligible areas (find out more here: http://www.mbsonline.gov.au/telehealth)
  • Eligible aged care facilities and Aboriginal medical services throughout Australia
  • Clinical support provided by a health professional who is with the patient during the video consultation
  • 23 items available to medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, midwives, practice nurses and Aboriginal health workers
  • These items are for face-to-face consultations when patient-end practitioners provide clinical support to patients during their video consultation.

For more information go to Human Services Resource page by clicking here.

Activity Based funding for Telehealth

Telehealth consultations (via video link) are counted as a non-admitted patient service event (equivalent funding to a face to face appointment).

Note: Telehealth activity must meet the definition outlined in the IHPA Tier 2 Non-Admitted Services Compendium. For more information click here

Does a phone consultation count as telehealth for billing purposes?

 

No. Phone consultations do not count towards telehealth activity. Telehealth only includes consultations conducted via videoconferencing (where the patient is present during the call).