Digital health solutions
On this page:
- Telehealth and MBS item numbers
- Electronic prescribing
- Practice Incentive Payments
- Digital health support
Telehealth and MBS item numbers
Please note: the following information has been developed as a general guide based on guidelines as of 20 July 2020.
In response to COVID-19, temporary Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) items for video (telehealth) and phone consultations have been introduced. Telehealth consultations allow health care providers to offer their clinical services via video or phone consultations. Consumers can connect with their health care providers in a convenient location such as home or work using everyday devices such as smartphones, tablets or a desktop computer.
Some key points about the new item numbers include:
- from 20 July 2020 telehealth consultation items are only available to patients who have visited a GP or GP practice face-to-face within the last 12 months
- consultations can be either video teleconferencing or telephone attendance for General Practitioners, specialists, consultant physicians, obstetricians, consultant psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, allied health mental health workers and midwives
- the item numbers are temporary and are available for 6 months until 30 September 2020
- patients are required to consent to their service being bulk-billed
- providers offering services from home isolation or quarantine should use their provider number for their primary location and must provide safe services in accordance with normal professional standards.
More information about the new telehealth item numbers, eligibility criteria and appointment types is available via the following links:
From 20 July 2020, MBS-funded GP telehealth consultations will only be available for patients who have visited a GP or GP practice face-to-face within the last 12 months. The following exemptions to these changes apply:
- infants (under 12 months old)
- people experiencing homelessness
- people residing in Victoria where stage 4 restrictions apply (this may change as other parts of the country experience increases in COVID-19 cases and subsequent restrictions).
These changes are intended to support continuity and coordination of care for patients and further information is available on the Department of Health MBS page.
Some patients may require an interpreter to use telehealth services. This document contains advice for General Practitioners (GPs) who provide telehealth services to patients who may require an interpreter.
Telehealth – support for your patients
Telehealth consultations are a new way of providing care for both primary health practitioners and patients. To help our region prepare for the recent increase in telehealth appointments, Brisbane South PHN has developed a short animated video to help patients understand what telehealth is and prepare for a telehealth appointment. This video has also been adapted into 6 languages other than English. All videos can be accessed here.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Brisbane South PHN is pleased to advise that we are able to provide primary health care providers with complimentary access to Healthdirect Video Call service until 30 September 2020.
Healthdirect Video Call is a platform that allows health care providers to offer their services via a video consultation. Video call provides a single consistent entry point on the service’s webpage for all patients, where they enter an online waiting area for their appointment. For further information download Healthdirect’s Video Call fact sheet or view a video about introducing Healthdirect video call into your health service.
Benefits of using Healthdirect Video Call
- Purpose-built for health settings, integrating with health care workflow
- Supports workflow that is familiar to consumers and health care providers
- Easy access for patients using their own device
- Secure, using high-quality encrypted video technology.
Set up Healthdirect Video Call
To get started with Healthdirect Video Call, complete this form to set up your account.
Below are some resources to assist you as you set up the service:
- How patients use Healthdirect for video calling (download)
- How to set up Healthdirect for video calling in your clinic (download)
- Telehealth training for primary health care professionals
Contact us for further information.
As part of the COVID-19 National Health Plan, electronic prescribing has been fast-tracked. Work to upgrade health care providers’ clinical software is underway – more information is available here.
In the meantime, here are some useful resources to share with your networks, providing information on issues such as PBS claiming arrangements, supply of medicine to patients, signing for receipts of a prescription, repeats and existing prescriptions.
Clarification about image-based prescriptions in Queensland
The Commonwealth arrangement states that a prescriber can send a clear copy of a prescription (a digital image such as a photo or PDF, including the barcode where applicable) to a patient’s pharmacy of choice via email, text message or fax.
To support this measure, an amendment has been made to Queensland’s legislation, the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (HDPR) that:
- enables a prescriber to send a digital image of a prescription to a dispenser; and
- gives a temporary exemption from the requirement to send paper copies of prescriptions to dispensers, other than prescriptions for controlled (Schedule 8) drugs, restricted drugs of dependence (e.g. benzodiazepines) and anabolic steroids.
Prescribers who require to send a faxed copy or digital image of a prescription to a pharmacy must first create a paper prescription that meets all the requirements for a lawful prescription under the HDPR, including a signature.
Prescribers who have been acting in accordance with the PBS Special Arrangement since it came into effect on 26 March 2020, and have retained paper copies of prescriptions since that date, are taken to have complied with Queensland requirements for sending prescriptions to pharmacists and should continue to retain these prescriptions for a period of two years from the date the prescription is written.
Practice Incentive Payments
Practice Incentive Payments (PIP) have temporarily increased to further support eligible practices during COVID-19. For more information about PIP, please see the below resources.
- Practice Incentive Payments temporary increase on payments factsheet
- PIP and WIP response to COVID-19 to support general practice update
Digital health support
NEW – CareMonitor Telehealth Available Now on Topbar
Shared care and real-time remote monitoring and management platform CareMonitor has launched a new Telehealth platform. CareMonitor has also partnered with population health software vendor Pen CS where the new telehealth application would be available to more than 4,000 practices in Topbar making it easy for existing Topbar users to access the functionality with one click.