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healthdirect Video Call for GPs is here to stay

February 25, 2022

Healthdirect Australia has welcomed the news that MBS telehealth funding for general practice is here to stay as a permanent feature of Australia’s primary healthcare system and reminds general practice of its freely available video conferencing platform for virtual consultations.

CEO of Healthdirect Australia, Bettina McMahon, says that research undertaken in 2021 shows that 55 per cent of patients who had experienced a telehealth consultation stated that seeing their GP via video instead of phone would have improved the consultation.

“Many Australians have now had the opportunity for a telehealth consultation with their GP. We know that video consultations are very well received by patients – with 55 per cent reporting their telehealth consultation would have been improved if they could see their GP via video. So Healthdirect Australia is making it as easy as possible for general practice to offer video consults to their patients as well as phone,” Ms McMahon says.

Ms McMahon advises that while there has been an increase in video consultations, she wants to see video offered by more general practices.

“We’ve had huge growth in the use of healthdirect Video Call in response to COVID -19. A third of all GP clinics have adopted healthdirect Video Call, with over two million video consults between January 2020 and December 2021. However, I’d like to see every general practice that offers telehealth services also offer their patients the option of video consultations,” Ms McMahon says.

“The Department of Health has extended our funding to June 2022 so we can continue to provide a free video call service that is highly secure and easy to use, for general practices, Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs). I want to see more practices taking advantage of this free service to see how they might use video consultations as part of their ongoing business.”

Silvia Pfeiffer, CEO of Coviu – Healthdirect Australia’s video technology partner – shares insights from research undertaken by Coviu in 2021 on consumer attitudes about telehealth.

“We surveyed over 1,000 consumers who had participated in a telehealth consultation and 70 per cent said they thought video consultations should be offered by all GPs. Forty-four per cent said they would consider switching to a GP that offered video consultations over a GP that did not,” Ms Pfeiffer says.

"While patients still value face-to-face consultations, they are increasingly expecting telehealth and video consultations as an option.”

Healthdirect Australia provides unlimited use of its video call service by GPs and practice managers, and provides free support to practices including onboarding, training, and ongoing support.

Healthdirect Australia also collaborates with the RACGP to offer free CPD courses to support GPs and Practice Managers use Video Call confidently and effectively.

For GPs in private practice wanting to start using the service, please register your practice. For GPs in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) wanting to start using the service, please register for access.

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