Telehealth Standards

The ACRRM standards Framework

The ACRRM standards Framework provides a guide to understanding a range of issues relating to deployment and use of Telehealth products and services based on video consultations. It is often noted that this area relies on highly technical but established standards for equipment and telecommunications, however there are other aspects besides the technology that warrant equivalent consideration.  ACRRM took  3-dimensional approach to defining a framework for decision making and implementation around these aspects.

The first dimension covers technical aspects, including software and hardware components 

The second dimension covers clinical usage aspects, including both supporting the clinical process and considerations of appropriate use for the given case.  

The third dimension involves the health services context within which the videoconferencing activity occurs, and how the related requirements are handled.  

Core Telehealth Principles

The 11 Telehealth principles, endorsed by the ATHAC, are consistent with the AHPRA draft standards, are consistent with ACRRM fellowship requirements and are intended to protect patients receiving Telehealth services.

They provide common ground for different health care professionals providing care via Telehealth and they assist in the development of guidelines to assist shared care of patients reflecting referral patterns.

The ACRRM Telehealth Advisory Committee Telehealth principles are as follows:

  1. The basic standards of professional conduct governing each health care profession Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia are not altered by the use of Telehealth technologies to deliver health care, conduct research, or provide education. Where specific professional guidelines are required to inform practice protocols then the final APHRA Guidelines for technology based patient consultations must be applied.
  1. Confidentiality of patient Telehealth consultations, patient health records, and the integrity of information in the health care information system are essential.
  1. Health professionals (at both ends of the Telehealth consultation,) must make their identity known and confirm the identity of each patient at each encounter. All patients directly involved in a Telehealth encounter must be informed about the process, its attendant risks and benefits, and their own rights and responsibilities, and must provide adequate informed consent.
  1. Services provided via Telehealth must adhere to the basic assurance of quality and professional health care in accordance with each health care discipline's clinical standards
  1. Each health care discipline and health service must examine how its patterns of care delivery are affected by Telehealth and is responsible for developing its own processes for assuring competence in the delivery of health care via Telehealth technologies.
  1. Documentation requirements for Telehealth services must be developed that assure documentation of each client encounter with recommendations and treatment, communication with other health care providers as appropriate, and adequate protections for client confidentiality.
  1. Clinical guidelines in the area of Telehealth should be based on empirical evidence, when available, and professional consensus among involved health care disciplines. .
  1. The integrity and therapeutic value of the relationship between client and health care practitioner should be maintained and not diminished by the use of Telehealth technology.
    1. Telehealth must enhance the existing clinician patient relationship (not fragment it). Telehealth arrangements should complement existing services (where available), build on rural workforce and referral patterns to avoid further service fragmentation and address practicalities of coordination, scheduling and support from the patient’s perspective to improve their continuity of care.
  2. Health care professionals and practices do not need additional licensing/ accreditation to provide services via Telehealth technologies. At the same time, Telehealth technologies cannot be used, as a vehicle for providing services that otherwise is not legally or professionally authorized.
  3. The safety of clients and practitioners must be ensured. Safe hardware and software, combined with demonstrated user competence, are essential components of safe Telehealth practice

11.  The relevant jurisdictional authorities’ (State or National DoHA) Telehealth technical standards must be applied in a ‘fit  for purpose' manner.

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ATHAC Telehealth Standards Framework.pdf373.45 KB