COVID-19 has brought about some big changes around the globe. It has changed the 'norm' of doing everything 'in-person'. Of course, the use of technology was already increasing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic has increased our reliance on technology, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as it has led to significant improvements and advancements in particular fields.

An area that has seen significant growth amidst this pandemic is the use of Telehealth - reducing our in-person dealings and consults with doctors for our health concerns. Telehealth is an increasingly popular method of delivering health services, as it increases accessibility to healthcare by phone or video call where physical examinations are not necessary. However, because of the nature of health, it is vital that the level of service is of the same quality so that patient care is not compromised. This requires a lot of effort on the part of the Practice and Practitioner. Consults that used to be face-to-face are easily becoming virtual checkups via Telehealth. Is this the future of medicine?

Of course, being able to see a doctor, psychologist, surgeon or other healthcare providers, without having to leave the home, is incredibly convenient. When unwell, it can also reduce the spread of illness. It also saves time by enabling Australians living in rural and remote areas to consult with their doctor, without having to travel to see them. For practices, it can make it easier to expand their reach and for new patients to engage with the practice.

What factors do Practices and Practitioners need to be considering?

We have compiled a list 5 important factors to consider when implementing Telehealth. These are as follows:



  • Is the patient in a location that will maintain their confidentiality?
  • Are there other people in the room with them? If yes, is the patient comfortable for those people to be in the room?
  • Are there adequate policies and procedures in place to deal with sensitive (paper-based) information at individual residences, maintaining client confidentiality?


  • Does our Privacy Policy address telehealth?
  • Are there security and privacy controls in place to discharge the obligation to take reasonable
    steps to protect data?
  • Do our current policies, procedures and risk management protocols include provisions for securely storing of video recordings, images and teleconferencing in accordance with the provisions of Australian Privacy Principle 11?
  • Do we have a policy for collection and scanning of mail, sending scripts etc?

Cyber Security

Security of data is paramount consideration in evaluating the means by which telehealth is conducted.

  • Do we have polices and procedures in place in the event of a Notifiable Data breach?
  • Do we have an IT Policy & Protocols to deal with cyber security?
  • Do we have cyber security insurance?

These are just some of the questions that need to be answered when considering telehealth and
confidentiality, privacy and cyber security.


Normally, prescriptions, certificates, and other sensitive paper-based information are given and handed to
patients right after check-ups. How are these paper-based documents handed over to patients? Scripts
are also something that can be done digitally now, but does the patient have the ability to access this?


  • Do we have adequate equipment and software suitable for telehealth?
  • What arrangements are in place to provide our doctors with access to the software required?
  • Does the telehealth equipment comply with regulations for electronic storage?
  • Do we have a backup plan if there is a failure?


  • Read and understand the new MBS requirements for telehealth billing.
  • Have a clear Policy about Medicare and bulk billing.
  • Consider how full financial consent from the patient about out of pocket costs will be obtained.
  • How will payment be collected from patients following a telehealth consult?


  • Have we considered which services are appropriate to offer through telehealth?
  • Do our telehealth consultations suit our patients?
  • Have we considered relationships with other health care providers?
  • Do our practitioners need training to gain technical expertise?
  • Do we have a workspace that is appropriate for telehealth?

The factors mentioned above are only a few of the many that must be considered before implementing
Telehealth to ensure that patients receive the same quality of service whether they are in-person check-
ups or virtual check-ups.

Our Online Solution: Telehealth Policy and Risks of Telehealth Checklist

We know how important it is to get Telehealth right. Our Telehealth policy covers how Practitioners
should conduct Telehealth Consultations, provides the responsibilities of both the Practice and the
Practitioner in providing a Telehealth Consultation to Patients, as well as considerations that should be
taken into account when determining whether a Patient is suitable for a Telehealth Consultation based on
their individual health needs and requirements. To purchase, click here.
We also have a free Risks of Telehealth Checklist, which you can download here. This Checklist is
designed to help you prepare your practice and practitioners for conducting Telehealth Consultations.
If you have any other questions about this topic or our Online Solution, or anything else, you can contact us here.