Belgravia’s Telehealth program launched last month at a time when our local communities were most in need of remote health care. Our Telehealth team shares how the idea for the service came about and how it has helped patients who are in need of care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1) What is our Telehealth program and when was it launched?
Telehealth was launched at Belgravia on 8 April 2020 in a rapid effort to continue services for our members already receiving exercise physiology sessions, during the COVID19 pandemic. Telehealth allows our Exercise Physiologists to deliver health consultations to members/patients via an online platform which can be accessed by the patient on their computer, smart phone or tablet in the safety of their own homes. This means our clients’ important rehabilitation, chronic injury management and/or capacity building can continue during this unknown time.
2) Why was there a need for Telehealth at Belgravia?
Telehealth gives Belgravia an adaptive way to remain connected with our community, members and patients during the COVID19 restrictions. It provides an opportunity to support many of our existing exercise physiology clients who are people with a disability or people who have a chronic injury / illness. During this time it is important to assist those who are most vulnerable.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that in Australia, an alarming 47.3% of the adult population lives with one or more chronic health conditions. Belgravia plans that by offering a Telehealth exercise physiology service, it can continue to support the community through virtual consultations and provide on-going employment for its team of exercise physiologists.
3) How has Telehealth helped our members so far?
Responses from our customer satisfaction survey indicate the below benefits from Telehealth services:
- Improved quality of life
- Pain management
- Peace of mind
- Social connection
The quote below is from one of our members at Ascot Vale Leisure Centre about her experience with telehealth:
“I was concerned about the temporary closure of my local leisure centre. With the introduction of the telehealth service, I have been able to continue with my much-needed sessions to maintain and progress my rehabilitation program. I’ve found the online program convenient and easy to use, especially because my Exercise Physiologist and I can find a mutually suitable time and I can access the program from the comfort of my own home. The two-way video also helps with personalised feedback and demonstrations.”
4) What are the Telehealth Compensable Schemes and how will they be carried out?
Telehealth sessions can be fully or partly funded for the patient through compensable schemes such as; Medicare, NDIS, WorkSafe, DVA, motor vehicle accident commissions and some private health funds. If a patient is already accessing one of these schemes, we have begun advertising Telehealth and suggest the patient contact our telehealth team for further support and advise. If a community member is not currently accessing a compensable scheme and wishes to undertake Telehealth sessions, our Telehealth team can liaise with their local GP to see if they are eligible for Medicare services.
5) Will the Telehealth program continue to function when government restrictions are lifted?
Previously Telehealth has been something used to support those living in regional and remote areas of Australia. During this pandemic, with social distancing restrictions in place, expansion of Telehealth was needed and executed by the Federal government, with state government and private health insurers soon adopting this expansion of services. It will be a decision for the governments and private health providers if Telehealth as a service remains on the compensable scheme item listing.