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How to Conduct Telehealth Consultations

It is important that you verify the patient’s identity and their location (in case you need to initiate emergency services). Obtain a telephone number so you can call the patient in the event that the videoconferencing is interrupted or is of poor quality. If you are meeting the patient for the first time, be sure to introduce yourself and identify where you are calling from, such as your clinic or home. Check whether the person is in a private quiet space and that it is a convenient time to talk. Check that the patient can see and hear you.

Starting a telehealth consultation

It is important that you verify the patient’s identity and their location (in case you need to initiate emergency services). Obtain a telephone number so you can call the patient in the event that the videoconferencing is interrupted or is of poor quality. If you are meeting the patient for the first time, be sure to introduce yourself and identify where you are calling from, such as your clinic or home. Check whether the person is in a private quiet space and that it is a convenient time to talk. Check that the patient can see and hear you.

Using the Telehealth Platform

It is often helpful to ascertain if the patient has experience with telehealth. This can help guide you as the clinician to the amount of explanation that may be required throughout the consultation, and can assist in identifying any anxiety the patient may feel with using the telehealth platform. As the clinician usually initiates the call with video consultations, and the patient has not attended the clinic in person, there is not the degree of implied consent that is afforded to traditional consultations. Thus it is important that you seek consent from the patient for a remote consultation. Gaining consent is also necessary if you wish to record any aspect of the consultation, or if any other person is present (such as another member of the healthcare team). “Sign-posting” or warning the patient that they may hear or see keyboard typing throughout the consultation can also be beneficial.

A useful sequence of events for videoconferencing may be:4 5

Videoconferencing sequence of events: greeting, introduction, courtesy, equipment check, establish remote experience, consent, signpost, preparation check, ID check, reason for call, agenda setting, key clinical question

When Conducting Telehealth Consultations:

Practical tip! Consider using two monitors when conducting telehealth video consultations – one for the video consultation, and a second screen for recording your electronic treatment notes – to make the consultation process easier.

Maintaining privacy As with all healthcare consultations, it is important that privacy be maintained during telehealth consultations to ensure you are compliant with relevant legislation.

Telehealth Consultation Checklist

The Australian Department of Health has prepared a checklist to assist clinicians to comply with their privacy obligations when delivering telehealth services. It provides high level privacy guidance only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice.

Take a moment to consider how patient privacy may be breached during telehealth consultations.

Take some time to read through the Australian government checklist provided below and click on the Mark as Complete button to check the Step off.

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