Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
telehealth information for general practice.

Page last updated: 9:25am, 31 July 2020

Delivery of care during the coronavirus pandemic is changing quickly. Here are the latest telehealth updates and resources for general practice.

COVID-19 Telehealth MBS items

COVID-19 Telehealth MBS items can now be claimed.

Changes to these MBS telehealth items came into effect on 20 July 2020:

From 20 July 2020, GPs and other medical practitioners working in general practice can only provide telehealth where they have an existing and continuous relationship with a patient in order to provide telehealth services. Patients can now only access telehealth services under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) through their regular GP or practice.

This means patients will be eligible telehealth services from GPs and other medical practitioners if they have seen their GP or another medical practitioner or health practitioner (such as a practice nurse of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker) within the same practice at least once in the preceding 12 months.

However, this requirement does not apply in areas under stage three restrictions in Victoria.

  View fact sheets for the new MBS items

Visit MBS Online for all the items and the latest information.

Visit our telehealth page for more telehealth resources.

AHPRA telehealth guidance for practitioners

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the National Boards have released telehealth guidance for health practitioners. The guidance outlines expectations as to how registered health practitioners will use telehealth in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and discusses how the Code of Conduct is applied to consultations carried out by phone or video conferencing.

Nurses can now support chronic disease patients at home by telehealth

The following items have been updated for attendances for COVID-19 services provided by a practice nurse or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner on behalf of a medical practitioner:

  • Item number 10987, Follow up service for an Indigenous person who has received a health assessment, now has 93201 for video consultation or 93203 for phone consultation.
  • Item number 10997, Service provided to a person with a chronic disease, now has 93200 for video consultation or 93202 for phone consultation.

Visit MBS Online for all the recent changes to changes.

Healthdirect telehealth platform now freely available for all practices in our region

Healthdirect Video Call is an easy-to-use telehealth platform funded by the Commonwealth Government. Due to the increased need for telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, Video Call is now available free of charge for all general practices in our catchment until September 2020.

Healthdirect Video Call allows health care services using telehealth to provide a single, consistent entry point on their website. Patients simply click a link to enter an online waiting room for their appointment. Patients do not need an account, special software or dial-in details, which reduces the need for extra resources or systems to support video consulting.

Visit the Healthdirect website to watch an informative video about how Video Call works.

To apply:

  1. Read the information sheet (.pdf, 358 KB)
  2. Complete the online application form

For more information contact:

Madeline Leonard
Program Support Officer, Workforce Development
North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network
Phone: 03 9347 1188
Email: primarycare@nwmphn.org.au

Privacy checklist for telehealth services

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

  Privacy checklist for telehealth services

Webinar: Telehealth within your practice

 Telehealth within your practice (91 minutes)

This webinar lays out the foundations of telehealth, how it can be implemented, how to navigate risks and barriers and how to coordinate workflows. We also looked at successful case studies from around our region.

RACGP telehealth resources
  • New RACGP resources are available to assist GPs and practice teams to provide safe and effective telephone and video consultations. The flowcharts are particularly helpful and provide practical steps to take before, during and after telephone and video consultations, from booking the appointment through to concluding the consultation and undertaking any follow-up actions.
  • The RACGP Telehealth video consultations guide focuses on telehealth video consultations covered under the MBS where a general practitioner (GP), practice nurse or Aboriginal health worker is physically present with the patient to provide patient-end services during a consultation with a specialist at another location.
  • The RACGP has also published a helpful guide to the new MBS telehealth items.
Posters for your practice

Thanks to The Clinic 279 for these posters.

GP clinics to get free NBN boost for telehealth

NBN Co is supporting the delivery of enhanced telehealth services by upgrading Australian GP clinics to 50Mbps download and 20Mbps upload connections at no extra cost for a period of six months. This will enable clinics to deliver multiple telehealth consultations simultaneously following the major expansion of telehealth delivery.

 More information

Telehealth and consultations in GP respiratory clinics

This fact sheet from the Commonwealth Department of Health has been designed to help primary care practitioners in a telehealth-only setting, and those working in telehealth and GP-led respiratory clinics.

It covers:

  • Telehealth-only: setting up, connecting and getting started
  • Telehealth and GP-led respiratory clinics:
    • getting the patient's history
    • conducting the examination
    • considering comorbidities
    • making a decision and taking action

  Go back to COVID-19 hub