Welcome to Telehealth Services

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

For Enquiries contact the Metro South Health Telehealth Services team: 3176 8181 or

email: mshhs.telehealth@health.qld.gov.au

For technical support contact the Statewide Telehealth team: 1800 066 888

Log an enquiry

Log an online enquiry via the form click here.

What is Telehealth

Telehealth is the virtual delivery of health services and information through the use of videoconferencing technology. The Queensland Health definitions of telehealth include:
  • Live stream video for clinical and educational sessions.
  • store and forward telehealth (also known as eConsult) the acquisition and storing of an image for clinical purposes and can be accessed by a clinician at another site.
  • teleradiology for diagnostic imaging.
  • remote patient monitoring (home monitoring equipment).
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

Any clinician can deliver telehealth consultations including consultants, registrars, nurses and other allied health professionals. Only consultants established for billing can bulk bill a consultation.

Equipment and Technology

Equipment

Device

To successfully participate in a videoconference call you will require an appropriate device:

  • Desktop computer with a webcam built-in or attached.
  • Laptop with a webcam built-in or attached and wi-fi access.
  • iPad, tablet or smartphone with wi-fi access.
  • Hardwired videoconference system or trolley.
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
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

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.
Working Remotely
  • If you are working remotely and would like to utilise the Telehealth Video Conferencing System please review the External Access guide for more information - click here.
Telehealth Portal
  • The Queensland Health Telehealth Portal is a free, browser-based videoconferencing platform. Known also as webRTC (real-time communication) it is a safe, secure pathway available for Queensland Health 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 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

Training

The Metro South Health Telehealth Team offers a variety of virtual or in-person training for both individuals and groups. Topics include:

  • Telehealth basics
  • Telehealth admin processes and ESM Scheduling
  • Using Jabber and the Telehealth Portal
  • Virtual Clinic Training

To book into Telehealth training contact: mshhs.telehealth@health.qld.gov.au

Education Resources and Videos

Metro South Telehealth Services have developed a number of useful educational resources for staff, to assist their departments teleheatlh service.

Telehealth 101

 

Technology / Equipment

Cisco Jabber

Telehealth Portal (WebRTC)

Telehealth Portal (For Patients)

Telehealth Virtual Clinic

Hardware Systems and Purchasing 

Collaboration 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
  • Medirecords - Telehealth Bulkbilling Guide - 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
  • Telehealth - Admin Module - Scheduling (video) - click here to view

HBCIS

  • HBCIS Inpatient Details Entry Screen for Telehealth - click here

CHIMS

CIMHA

Connection Generator

  • Connection Generator for Telehealth Portal - click here
  • Telehealth - Admin Module - Connection (video) - click here

Admin Workflow and Scripts

Distal Site Booking Process

  • Booking a Distal Site Quick Reference Guide - click here

Telehealth 101

My department/service want to start using telehealth, 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.

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is the virtual delivery of health services and information through the use of videoconferencing technology. The Queensland Health definitions of telehealth includes:

  • Live stream video for clinical and educational sessions
  • Store and forward telehealth (also known as eConsult) the acquisition and storing of an image for clinical purposes for a clinician at another site to clinically evaluate
  • Teleradiology for diagnostic imaging
  • Remote patient monitoring (telehealth services and equipment to monitor people’s health in their own homes

Who can provide consultations via Telehealth?

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

 

Technology / Equipment

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

Queensland Health has very limited technical support for these options. We recommend that only Queensland Health approved software such as Cisco Jabber or the Telehealth Portal (webRTC) be used in Telehealth consultations.

More information can be found here:click to view.

How do the patients connect to a telehealth consultation from home?

Telehealth patients are sent a link from booking staff to connect via their own personal device. They will require a reliable internet connection and suitable device such as a smartphone, iPad, tablet, PC or Laptop with a webcam attached.

For more information click here.

Do I need expensive equipment to do Telehealth?

Not necessarily. Some areas are already fitted with a Cisco (wired or trolley) system, however, if your area has computers in the consultation rooms, a webcam and headset is all you need.

View the Technology/Equipment tab on the Telehealth Page

What’s a dial-in number?

A dial in number is the number you enter into a system to connect to a video conference. This is usually a 6-digit CMR or VCR number. Jabber accounts have a text-based address.

You can connect to a video conference in the following ways:

  • Direct Dial: This is where you enter the number for a specific system. This method allows for a maximum two participants - yourself and the system you are dialling. 
  • Collaboration 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 six (6) participants can dial in via phone by dialling 1300 590 084. A risk of using CMR's is two participants could potentially dial in and connect to each other. 
  • Bridge : This is a connection that allows for multiple systems and telephones to connect to a virtual meeting place. 
    • Also known as Multipoint, Bridges: 
      • 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
      • are no long able to be recorded.
  • Virtual Clinic Room (VCR): This is a six (6) digit number that patient's dial to access the waiting of their telehealth clinic. Multiple users can join a VCR and there is no risk of two patient's dialling in and seeing each other. 

What is a CMR?

CMR stands for Collaboration Meeting Room. A CMR is a permanent videoconferencing dial in number, to use whenever you require. CMRs are self-managed by you and as the owner of a CMR, it is your responsibility to provide CMR dial in number and/or PINs to your participants. 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.

What is a virtual clinic or virtual waiting room?

A Virtual Clinic is a patient management software tool, designed to replicate the flow of a traditional outpatient clinic. It is a streamlined, secure platform that allows both administrative and clinical staff to effectively manage high volumes of patients in a virtual environment.

See here for more information by clicking here

How do I purchase webcams, headsets or speakers?

Equipment can be purchased through the Statewide Telehealth Services page here: click here to view.

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 Statewide Telehealth on 1800 066 888.

 

Admin Processes & Appointment Scheduling

How do I schedule a Telehealth appointment for a patient?

Click the Education Resources tab on this page and view the Admin Resources.

NOTE: Ensure all Telehealth appointments are scheduled with the appropriate Telehealth appointment type.

These systems automatically have a Telehealth/videoconference option when booking.

ESM users: If the correct appointment type is not available please contact the MSH ESM team to arrange a new appointment type be created. Email: MSH_ESM_Outpatients@health.qld.gov.au

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

Yes, you can see in person and Telehealth patients in the same clinic.

When during a clinic is the best time to schedule a Telehealth appointment?

For OPD style clinics:

  • When Telehealth is integrated into an OPD clinic it is generally best to schedule the 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. This is to ensure clinicians see patients at the scheduled time. If a patient is at another facility/clinic 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 consecutively during the clinic time.

How you structure your session will be specific to your service. For other, non-structured, services:

  • Where will the patient be for the session?
  • Will you be delaying other clinicians if you do not connect on time? 
  • How many patients are you seeing via telehealth during the session?
  • Can you access the technology from the same location as your in person consultations?

Which patients / medical conditions can be seen via Telehealth?

There are a few practical, clinical and financial considerations which may play a role in selecting the cohort of Telehealth patients for your department:

  • Clinical appropriateness - Only clinically appropriate patients should be seen, be sure to consider both the clinical reason for the consultation as well as other testing/observations/assessment required during the appointment. For more information view here.
  • Funding - All consultation 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 patients location. View the Funding tab for more information.
  • 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. They can also been seen interstate or overseas. For more information click here.
  • Technology - Does the patient have access to the appropriate technology and/or alternative facility (eg QH Facility, GP etc)

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 will be with the patient during the telehealth 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.

The clinician would prefer to see new patients in person, and only see review patients via Telehealth. Is this ok?

Yes, each telehealth service 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.

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

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

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

If the requesting clinician 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.

How do I schedule the patient end site if they are not being seen at home?

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.

For more information view the Booking Distal Sites QRG click here.

There is a patient currently admitted to another hospital, can they be seen via Telehealth?

Yes, inpatients can receive a Telehealth consultation however they cannot be bulk billed. This is arranged as per any standard Telehealth consultation. However, details of appointment should not be scheduled in ESM as they are funded differently. The patient’s hospital must enter the details into the HBCIS Inpatient.

What are the options for connecting a patient to a telehealth consultation?

Patients can be seen via Telehealth by:

  • attending their appointment via their nearest hospital
  • Or, if appropiate, at their GP Practice, Aged Care Facility, Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS)
  • From the comfort of their own home.

To connect from a non-Queensland Health facility, they will need to have good internet speed, sufficient data and use a computer with a camera and microphone or use their tablet / smart phone.

How do I notify the patient of a Telehealth appointment?

For patients being seen via the Telehealth Portal: 

  • If the patient is scheduled serveral 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.

For more information click here.

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

There are two options for appointment letters:

  • Have your letter template change for telehealth appointments to include the Patient Location details. This can be done in ESM. 
  • 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 to the patient. 

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 select Chart Review.

For more information click here.

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 procedure as you would for an in person consultation.

 

Funding and Billing

Does a phone consultation count as Telehealth?

No, phone consultations do not meet the definition of a telehealth service event. From a public funding and medicare perspective telehealth only includes consultations conducted via videoconferencing (audio AND video connection).

Phone consultations are funded separately under Activity Based Funded at a flat rate.

During COVID19 medicare bulk-billing item numbers were created for phone consultations see here.

 

Does the 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).

 

Can telehealth consultations be bulk-billed under Medicare?

Yes, telehealth consultations that meet the criteria for medicare bulk-billing can be billed an additional telehealth item number that provides a 50% loading on the base item number. For more information contact your Billing Officer, Private Practice, or see here.

 

 

Funding and Medicare Billing

Information on Telehealth purchasing specifications can be found by clicking here.

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 meet the definition of a telehealth service event. From a public funding and medicare perspective telehealth only includes consultations conducted via videoconferencing (audio and video connection). Phone consultations are funded separately under Activity Based Funded at a flat rate.

During COVID-19 medicare bulk-billing item numbers were created for phone consultation - click here.