ACRRM TeleHealth latest news & updates

Step-by-step to set up your practice for telehealth

Submitted March 9th 2012

$6,000 Medicare incentive till 30 June 2012

For many rural practices, telehealth is still in the too-hard basket, despite its many long-term benefits for both patient and practice. Medicare is offering an onboard incentive of $6,000 to GPs and specialist till 30 June 2012 (dropping to $4,800 in the following year).

ACRRM offers you an easy, step-by-step guide to setting up for telehealth.

1. Room Setup: Select a private room in which to conduct telehealth consultations. ACRRM Telehealth tips provide you with advice on selecting and setting up the room. Order some free ACRRM Do Not Disturb Door Hangers to enhance privacy during consultations.

2. VC Solution: To make the video connection you need an appropriate video conferencing solution/product. You can get this by outright purchase, or by subscription. Some options are in the ACRRM ehealth Technology Directory. Alternatively, you can register with a Facilitated Solution (such as GP2U, TeleHealth Solutions, Consult Direct etc.)

3. Accessories or Equipment: Essentially you need a camera, a microphone, and a monitor. Again, there are some options in the ACRRM Technology Directory. GPs and specialists report very good performance from equipment purchased from local retailers. Contact ACRRM ehealth team to discuss further- ehealthacrrm [dot] org [dot] au

4. Patient selection: Identify the patients who you think will benefit most from TeleHealth consultations. This has to be a clinical decision.

5. Specialist contact: List the specialists you would refer your patients to and contact them. ACRRM recommends that you contacts specialists with whom your patients have an ongoing relationship. Where a specialist does not offer telehealth services, alternatives are listed in the ACRRM Provider Directory or the directories included with many of the facilitated solutions

6. Compatible solutions: Your video conferencing facilities must be compatible with your specialists’ facilities. ACRRM can liaise with your specialists to assist them to become telehealth ready with a compatible set up.

7. Patient consent, and appointments: A patient consent form, FAQ sheet, and other essential information for patients are available from the ACRRM ehealth website under the Resources Tab. You make appointments with the relevant specialists using a regular appointment scheduling process.

8. Billing Medicare: After the consultation you bill Medicare for your services. The specialists will bill Medicare for their services. Click for More info

9. Promote your service: Register on ACRRM Provider Directory as a TeleHealth clinician so that you can be more easily found by patients (for GPs) and by doctors (for specialists).

Practice nurses can deputise for GPs on telehealth consults

Submitted February 3rd 2012

Some busy rural GPs are delaying their move into telehealth consultation unaware that the MBS allows for them to deputise their practice nurse to act as telehealth assistant with their patients during videoconference consults with specialists.

Medicare Item 10983 relates to a 'service by a practice nurse ... provided on behalf of, and under the supervision of, a medical practitioner that requires the provision of clinical support to a patient'. The telehealth incentives also apply when the practice nurse assists the patients. (Telehealth incentives for practices include a $6,000 on-board incentive as well as bulk billing and services incentives.)

Telehealth minimises travel and waiting time for patients and allows rural GPs to maintain continuity of care. In teaching practices, registrars benefit greatly from direct engagement with specialists in shared management of patients.

For more information about telehealth and how efficiently and effectively set up your practice, please contact the College's eHealth team: ehealth [at] acrrm [dot] org [dot] au.

Telehealth on-board incentives to cover more than technology costs

Submitted January 27th 2012

The $6,000 MBS on-board incentive for GPs – which drops to $4,800 on 1 July — recognises that there is more to setting up for telehealth than installing essential technology. Time has to be allocated for the GP and practice staff to find an appropriate specialist, liaise with patient and specialist, and follow up consultations with both the patient and specialist. Additional costs include maintaining the facility, retaining a high-speed broadband package, software and hardware upgrades, and training staff.

Medicare's one-off on-board incentive is automatically paid to the GP after they bulkbill their first Telehealth MBS Item, or the first eligible item is claimed by a patient. Incentives are also available on a per-consultation basis, including a $20 bulk billing payment and $40 service fee (on top of the MBS Telehealth item rebate).

You can read more details of incentives, MBS Items, and consultation billing examples on the dedicated ACRRM e-health website.

ACRRM TeleHealth community active and growing

Submitted January 20th 2012

Interest in TeleHealth continues to grow with over 300 now registered in ACRRM's ehealth online community and Medicare TeleHealth claims jumping from 447 in the first three months, July to September, to almost 500 per month in October and November.

If you can see the potential benefits of TeleHealth consulting for your patients, join the ACRRM ehealth community where you can get free advice on how to efficiently equip your practice with appropriate video conference facilities and also join your colleagues and ACRRM staff in discussing successful implementation.

There is no charge to register in ACRRM's online TeleHealth community to get technical advice and support, or to participate in the online discussions and exchanges.

Are you confused about TeleHealth?

Submitted January 12th 2012

Are you confused about the technological and logistical requirements in establishing efficient TeleHealth services for your patients? ACRRM can help.

ACRRM, supported by our National TeleHealth Advisory Committee (which includes specialist colleges, NACCHO, RDAA, Australian Practice Managers Association, NRHA, RFDS and Peak Nursing associations) has developed an online searchable directory of TeleHealth Technology Solutions. Log on to the ACRRM eHealth website to view the directory. Access to the directory is free for registered clinicians and practice managers. If you are not registered, register free now to view the directory, ask questions or contribute to the discussions via the forums.

Registered clinicians and practice managers can use this directory to search for a TeleHealth solution that fits their needs. If you are unsure of which solution to choose, the ACRRM eHealth team will help you make a decision by providing a range of options to meet your needs and those of the specialists to whom you refer your patients.

ACRRM encourages members and non-members to access the website, browse the directory and additional resources such as patient and clinicians Q and A sheets, consent forms etc.

Remember, if you need more tailored advice submit the Requirements Analysis form located under the Get Support tab for fast, objective and customised advice.

List your TeleHealth services free on ACRRM directory

Submitted December 22nd 2011

ACRRM, supported by our National Telehealth Advisory Committee (which includes specialist colleges), is developing an online searchable database of TeleHealth enabled providers.

Listing on the ACRRM Provider Directory is free for all our registered clinicians and practice managers. If you are not yet registered, do it now at www.ehealth.acrrm.org.au. (It's also free to register.) Registered clinicians, practice managers can use this directory to list the TeleHealth services they provide and search for other TeleHealth-enabled clinicians and services by categories such as discipline (such as paediatrics, ophthalmology etc.), technology used, location, or name.

Already registered with a facilitator?

Telehealth clinicians who are already registered in a facilitated TeleHealth solution (such as Attend Anywhere, Telehealth Solutions, MediLink, Consult Direct, and GP2U) are also welcome to register and list their services so that enquiries can be directed to the appropriate telehealth service URL.

Strengthening the patient-clinician relationship

Under the new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items have been introduced for TeleHealth video consultations from 1 July 2011.

Clinical services can be provided at the patient end of a video consultation by any medical practitioner, participating midwife or participating nurse practitioner who has a Medicare provider number linked to an eligible patient location. In addition, a practice nurse or Aboriginal health worker can provide a patient-end service 'for and on behalf of a medical practitioner' to a patient located in an eligible geographical area.

The TeleHealth provider directory demonstrates the capacity of our rural doctors to adapt to new technologies in providing care for their patients. ACRRM considers that this will act as assurance to other rural doctors who have been contemplating offering the service. It also

provides Specialists with the opportunity to contact you to discuss or organise TeleHealth opportunities, if that is your preference.

Benefits for specialists

New Medicare Benefits Schedule items were introduced for TeleHealth video consultations on 1 July 2011. The items include both on-board and ongoing incentives for specialists who treat patients via Telehealth. Currently, GPs have difficulty locating a specialist who is willing to offer TeleHealth consults via video conferencing. A list of Telehealth-enabled providers, as developed by ACRRM, is a useful tool for GPs and specialists to connect, take advantage of the new Medicare item numbers, and reduce waiting, travel, and costs for the patient. TeleHealth also provides faster, easier access to health care for older, seriously ill, and disabled patients unable to comfortably travel long distances to see specialists.

If you are already registered with another directory you can upload that information and provide a direct link to your directory profile.

(Please circulate the web address – www.ehealth.acrrm.org.au – to other specialists, GPs and practices that you feel will benefit from this online resource being developed by ACRRM.)

If you have particular questions or concerns please contact the ACRRM ehealth team at ehealth [at] acrrm [dot] org [dot] au

TeleHealth: update on support services and strategies

Submitted December 9th 2011

ACRRM met with members of the National TeleHealth Advisory Committee (NATHAC) on 5 December regarding standards and strategies for effective TeleHealth services. The committee has now endorsed the Review of International TeleHealth Standards, available on the ACRRM website.

ACRRM will continue to support clinicians at both ends of the TeleHealth consultation in partnership with specialist colleges, RDAA, NACCHO, AAPM, AGPN, rural workforce agencies and other relevant health stakeholders.

There was an unanimous support for ACRRM’s new activities which we will be applying for under the new funding round.

The committee also endorsed the ACRRM Review of International Telehealth Standards along with our interpretative guide to DoHA technical standards.

ACRRM looks forward to working in partnership with our Specialist Colleagues, NACCHO, and Rural Workforce Agencies, AAPM and AGPN in the conjoint development of resources and support arrangements for TeleHealth Providers providing care for regional, rural, remote and Aboriginal patients

Free, objective advice makes TeleHealth setup easier

Submitted November 11th 2011

The Requirement Analysis form is now available online. This form helps ACRRM's ehealth team evaluate your requirements for TeleHealth and offer you objective, personalised, standards-based advice. Just follow these four simple steps:

1. Go to the ACRRM ehealth website

2. Click 'Get Support' on the main menu

3. Nominate your requirements in the form

 

4. Submit your request.

The ACRRM TeleHealth support team will contact you to help you get your practice ready for TeleHealth consultations

Update from ACRRM National TeleHealth Advisory Committee

Submitted October 6th 2011

At the second meeting of the ACRRM National TeleHealth Advisory Committee this week Medicare Australia reported on the uptake of the MBS TeleHealth Initiative. The most significant uptake has been in rural, remote and regional areas of Australia. Over 1768 claims have been processed with the greatest number made In Queensland, the nation's second largest state.

Prof Anthony Maeder, chair of the Standards Australia TeleHealth Committee and Australian ISO representative on the ISO TeleHealth committee, is working with ACRRM and its advisory committee to help rationalise the plethora of standards and guidelines, and provide practical advice to members.

The College's national advisory committee comprises members from Specialist Colleges, RDAA, peak rural and Aboriginal organisations, Nursing Colleges, other relevant health stakeholders to agree Standards and strategies to support clinicians, at both ends of the consultation, to provide effective TeleHealth services.