Telehealth is the use of information and communication technology (such as videoconferencing via the internet) to deliver healthcare services, consultation and treatment in a patient’s home or local community. This enables a child and their family to have an appointment with a Children’s Health Queensland health professional or medical specialist with their local GP, paediatrician or health professional present, without the time and expense of having to travel long distances. Telehealth services are available at all Queensland Health facilities, including hospitals and community health settings.
How does telehealth work?
Our telehealth service allows you to connect to a Queensland Health application via a computer or iPad to see your health professional by live video.
What equipment do I need?
Either you or your GP/health professional will need:
- A computer (or tablet) with a web camera (built-in or plug-in).
- A microphone (built-in to the computer or plug in and / or telephone).
- A reliable internet connection.
- An email address.
Telehealth consultations are covered by Medicare so are free to families who hold a current Medicare Card. Families who do not hold a Medicare card will be charged a fee.
The only costs to patient families who hold a current Medicare card would relate to use of personal data bandwidth if the consultation takes place on their own device.
If you need to travel more than 50 kilometres to attend a telehealth appointment at a Queensland Health hospital or other facility, you may be eligible for the subsidised cost of travel or accommodation through the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS). Enquiries should be made with your nearest public hospital. More information can be found at www.health.qld.gov.au/ptss/ or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
Are there any limitations?
- A clinical consultation via telehealth may not always be the best way, depending on your child’s clinical needs as your health professional cannot remotely perform all types of examinations on your child.
- Sometimes technology can fail due to poor internet connectivity.
How can I access telehealth services?
Talk to your doctor, nurse of health care team at your next appointment to discuss if telehealth is an option for you and your family. If so, the Children’s Health Queensland telehealth team will contact you to discuss the next steps.
Naomi lives in Rockhampton with her family. Her daughter, Emma, was seen by a paediatrician at the Rockhampton Base Hospital who requested a specialist opinion from the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane. A telehealth consultation was arranged by the Rockhampton Base Hospital staff in partnership with telehealth at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.
“It was really good. We just turned up to the Rocky Base Hospital and used the facilities there,” Naomi said.
“It was so easy to see and hear through telehealth and the connection was great.
“We were able to talk directly with the specialist in Brisbane who answered our questions and put us at ease.
“The Brisbane specialists were able to confirm that Emma’s condition was not life threatening and that they would keep an eye on things.
“It really helped us understand Emma’s condition. It also helped us to prepare for our face-to-face visit with the haematologist in Brisbane with things like blood tests.
“The telehealth appointment saved us travelling to Brisbane which is expensive and disruptive as we need to find babysitting for our other children and pets, and taking time off work is really difficult. It is also really important that Emma doesn’t miss too much school either,” Naomi said.
“We will definitely like to continue to use telehealth as a way of reducing our travel to Brisbane.”