When you think of telehealth, you might think of phone calls and video calls with a doctor. However, the concept of telehealth covers so much more than a simple virtual call.
Telehealth is the use of digital technology, such as computers and mobile devices, to access and manage healthcare services remotely. It is a safe, secure and convenient way to receive ongoing care for primary care needs that don’t require an in-person visit with your GP.
How does telehealth work?
While telehealth seems to have increased in popularity recently, it’s actually been around for quite some time. Things like calling a doctor to get a prescription renewed or receiving test results via electronic or digital communication both qualify as telehealth. Depending on what mode of communication you choose, there are different ways telehealth can work.
Typically you arrange an appointment with a health professional, whether it’s your regular GP, specialist or allied health professional. This telehealth consultation can be a virtual video conference or phone call. Not all healthcare needs are appropriate for telehealth; anything that requires a physical examination or is an emergency will still require patients to physically go to a doctor or hospital.
Asynchronous telehealth in Australia
A new way of doing healthcare in Australia described as asynchronous telehealth describes a version of telehealth where the doctor and patient don’t need to meet at the same time (asynchronously) in order to progress with assessments, treatments or ongoing care. Asynchronous telehealth often refers to a text-based, secure, online platform through which the patient and doctor can continually share information with one another. It’s a highly convenient way to access healthcare without having to organise a time to meet, face to face or otherwise.
Rosemary Health offers online doctor consults for a variety of conditions through its asynchronous telehealth platform, including:
- Common daily ailments like allergies, insomnia and heartburn
- Sensitive issues like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and hair loss
- Chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis
- And many other conditions
While some treatments are only available to patients who have been pre-initiated, others are open for new patients to get medication for health issues they may not previously have prioritised. Patients fill out a doctor-curated online assessment, a licensed Australian doctor reviews within hours and prescribes a personalised treatment plan (if suitable) and medication is delivered for free anywhere in Australia.
Benefits of telehealth
There are many benefits of telehealth - technology has the potential to not only improve the overall quality of healthcare, but also make it more accessible to more people. It can make the healthcare industry more efficient and encourage patients to be more proactive about managing their health. Telehealth is not meant to be a replacement for visiting the doctor, but rather a way to enhance the overall healthcare experience.
Benefits of telehealth for patients include:
- Better access to quality care
- Faster responses to primary care healthcare needs
- Saving time and money from reduced travel and taking time off work to go to the doctor
Benefits of telehealth for clinicians and healthcare professionals include:
- Expanding access to care and reaching more patients
- Improving clinical workflows
- Increasing practice efficiency and reducing overhead
As telehealth evolves with technology, the benefits will as well.
Is telehealth safe?
Yes, telehealth is a safe and secure way of accessing healthcare whenever, wherever as long as you choose a reputable healthcare provider that adheres to privacy guidelines and regulations. When you use telehealth, your personal information and medical history are transmitted and stored in a safe and secure way.
A common feature of telehealth is a patient portal. This is an online area where you can log in and access your personal medical history, review test results, request prescription refills and contact your primary care team, including GPs and nurses. These patient portals are a more secure and confidential way to communicate about private medical information than email.
Telehealth and COVID-19
Telehealth is a safe approach to accessing healthcare during COVID-19. It’s a great way for doctors and patients to communicate with one another during the pandemic, from diagnosis to treatment to continuous care. It is especially helpful for patients in rural or remote areas; instead of having to travel to the nearest medical centre, patients can consult their doctors virtually. While some situations will still require a physical exam, many primary care needs can be addressed through a digital health clinic.
Need a new prescription? Or a refill? Connect with an online doctor on your own time and on your own terms with Rosemary. Start your online visit today.