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Telehealth Appointments & COVID-19

Telehealth consultations are available at our central Perth clinic, Northbridge Medical Centre.
  • We are working hard to ensure COVID safe environment for patients and staff
  • We are still providing face to face consultation
  • We are encouraging Telehealth consultation for certain situations
  • There may be a need to establish or maintain an "existing relationship" with Northbridge Medical Centre in order to receive Medicare rebate for Telehealth consultation
  • If you are symptomatic and still wish to have a face-to-face consultation, please present to Victoria Park Respiratory Clinic

GP Telehealth appointment Perth

A Telehealth appointment allows you to have a GP consultation via phone or video call and can be a convenient solution when you can’t see a doctor in person.

We are offering Telehealth appointments to patients who prefer one, or for patients who are not suitable to present in person on site. We are still providing face-to-face consultation at our clinic in Perth.

Reducing COVID-19 risks with Telehealth

Telehealth consultations are helpful in reducing the risk of spreading illness, particularly with the COVID-19 virus. Northbridge Medical Centre is committed to minimizing COVID-19 risks for all patients and staff.

We are still providing face to face consultation on site.  We are also offering Telehealth appointments to patients who prefer one, or patients who are not suitable to be presented in person on site.

If you are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms, please advise us and DO NOT attend the medical centre in person. Please book a Telehealth appointment or speak to our receptionist for appropriate methods of consultation.

If you are uncertain whether your symptoms could be COVID-19 symptoms, please refer to COVID-19 symptoms checker.

Please do not attend the medical centre in person if:

  • You have symptoms of fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, change in sense of smell or taste
  • You have been directed to isolate or quarantine
  • You are a close or household contact
  • You have attended a public exposure location

If you wish to find out the latest news and information about COVID-19 protocols in Western Australia regarding testing and isolation guidelines, close contacts and household definitions,  please refer to WA Department of Health  COVID-19 protocols website. or by logging into the ServiceWA app.

If you are symptomatic and still wish to have a face to face in person consultation, please present to Victoria Park Respiratory Clinic.

Patients attending Northbridge Medical Centre in person must:

As condition of entry to Northbridge Medical Centre, all patients and visitors must wear a face covering or mask, scan our QR code and answer screening questions by our receptionist regarding COVID-19 symptoms.

During the screening questions, our receptionist may advise you that it is more appropriate for your appointment to be a Telehealth appointment or to start as a Telehealth appointment. You will be asked to wait in your car or outside for the doctor’s phone call.

 

Convenient Telehealth consultations in Perth:

At Northbridge Medical Centre, we understand that Telehealth is an efficient and convenient way to access treatment. There are certain scenarios or types of consultation where Telehealth appointments are more appropriate than in person.

The friendly reception staff or doctors at Northbridge Medical Centre can provide further details. Our doctors will also recommend Telehealth consultations in certain patient groups or for follow up / results appointments.

 

How to book a Telehealth consultation:

  • Book a Telehealth consultation online or by calling the practice on (08) 9228 8339.
  • A suitable time will be booked for the consultation
  • Reception staff will call you and advise on fees and payment method
  • Doctor will start the consultation with a phone call to the number provided around the time of consultation
  • During the phone consultation, the doctor may request video conferencing or request for you to come in for an examination or procedure

Cost of Telehealth:

  • Northbridge Medical Centre is a private billing practice
  • The consultation fees for Telehealth are the same as face to face consultation fees. Please refer to our  Fees and Policies page for further details
  • Medicare claims can be submitted by reception staff after the consultation and Medicare will deposit the rebate into your linked bank account.

Telehealth Medicare rebate for new patients of Northbridge Medical Centre:

In order to receive Medicare rebates for Telehealth consultations, it is a requirement that the patient has attended the medical centre in person within the past 12 months. However, there are exemptions to these rules and our reception staff can provide further details.

Patients who are seeking to gain access to Telehealth services are encouraged to attend Northbridge Medical Centre for their first face-to-face consultation to establish the required existing relationship. Current patients who are seeking to maintain their access to Telehealth but have not attended in person in the last 12 months are also encouraged to do so.

The following are exemption rules where new patients or patients who have not attended the medical centre in person in the last 12 months will still receive a Medicare rebate:

  • the person has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • the person has tested for COVID-19 and is waiting for result
  • the person has been required to isolate or quarantine because of State or Territory public health order
  • the person is a patient at an Aboriginal Medical Service or an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service
  • the person is under 12 months old (infant)
  • the person is homeless
  • the consultation is regarding Mental Health, Sexual Health, Reproductive/Contraception Health or Quit smoking consultation

For additional information about Telehealth Medicare rebate and exemption, please refer to Australian Government Department of Health MBS COVID-19 Telehealth “existing relationship” requirement – Clarification of exemptions.

 

 

What to do if you have tested positive to COVID-19

Most COVID positive patients are unlikely to get severe disease requiring hospitalisation.  Most patients can manage their symptoms at home with the guidance of their doctor.

The following are guidance for steps to do if you are tested positive to COVID-19:

 

The role of your doctor in managing COVID-19 at home

It is important to inform your doctor about your positive COVID-19 results.  This is best done by booking a Telehealth consultation with your doctor.

Your doctor will be responsible for the following:

  • Review any underlying pre-existing disease
  • Identify any risk factors for developing severe disease
  • Assess the severity of the COVID-19 disease
  • Providing treatment for associated symptoms
  • Providing oral antiviral medications to patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who has high risk of developing severe disease, in order to reduce their need for hospital admission
  • Management of underlying medical condition and providing mental health support
  • Providing a home COVID-19 action plan and explain the use of daily symptom diary
  • Schedule regular Telehealth check-ups
  • Early detection of deterioration requiring hospital admission

For detail information, guidance and resources on My COVID-19 action plan and My daily symptom diary,  please refer to Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Managing COVID-19 at home with assistance from your general practice.

Red Flags for severe COVID-19 symptoms

The following symptoms may indicate worsening severity of your COVID-19 disease. If you develop any of the following symptoms, inform your doctor or call emergency services on 000.

  • If your pulse oximeter oxygen level is 92% or less
  • Worsening shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • becoming short of breath even when resting
  • Blue lips or face
  • Chest pain
  • Your skin is cold, clammy or pale
  • Severe headaches or dizziness
  • Having faints or collapse
  • Being more confused
  • Unable to get out of bed
  • Little or no urine output
  • Coughing up blood

WA COVID-19 testing and isolation protocols as of 8 February 2022

As of the 8 February 2020, there will be new sets of protocols for management of COVID-19 in Western Australia. The new settings will help to manage community transmission of COVID-19 and will include changes in the following:

If you wish to find out the latest news and information about COVID-19 protocols in Western Australia, please refer to WA Department of Health  COVID-19 protocols website.

Alternatively, you can call the National Coronavirus hotline on 13COVID (13 26843)

Telehealth Suitability

You or your doctor may choose to consult with you via Telehealth:

There are also scenarios or types of consultation where Telehealth consultations is more appropriate.

The following are some of the common scenarios you may choose or required to have a Telehealth consultation:

  • You have been tested positive with COVID-19
  • You are in isolation or quarantine, or waiting for COVID-19 result
  • You are unable to attend face to face consultation due to personal reasons or location reasons
  • You are requesting for straight forward consultation such as obtaining repeat scripts or following up results

The following are some of the common scenarios our doctors may suggest Telehealth consultation:

  • Elderly patients or vulnerable patients with multiple chronic illness or immunosuppression
  • Subsequent follow up appointment or appointment to discuss results
  • Monitoring patients between face-to-face consultations

 

Benefits of Telehealth:

Telehealth provide benefits both for safety and convenience. The following are some of the advantages:

  • Convenience without leaving home
  • Reduce risk of contracting infectious disease especially COVID-19 infection
  • Reduce and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious disease
  • Improve connectivity between patients and their doctors and hence improving continuity and quality of care
  • Increase opportunity for patients to connect with their doctors between face-to-face consultations
  • Ability to provide consultation to patients living or working in remote or rural areas

 

What are the privacy requirements for Telehealth?

All medical practice providing Telehealth consultation must comply with privacy obligations when delivering these services. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) ensures that the general privacy and information security requirements for remote consultation are the same as the requirement as face-to-face consultation.

  • Northbridge Medical Centre ensures confidentiality of patients and the security of telecommunication services
  • Doctors will be providing the services from a private and secure location
  • Prior to making an appointment, patient consent to receiving a Telehealth consultation is obtained
  • Patient's identity is verified and identity of anyone else in attendance is verified
  • Northbridge Medical Centre ensures the security of medical records and patient information
  • Patient's consent is obtained prior to sending prescription or other information

How to book a Telehealth consultation:

  • Book a Telehealth consultation online or call us and talk directly to a member of our friendly team
  • A time will be booked for the consultation
  • Reception staff will call you and advise on fees and method of payment
  • Doctor will start the consultation with a phone call to the number provided around the time of consultation
  • During the phone consultation, the doctor may request video conferencing or request for you to come in for an examination or procedure

 

 

 

Sexual health Telehealth consultation & blood-borne viruses Telehealth screening

The Australian Governments Department of Health encourages the continuation of sexual health consultation and blood-borne viruses screening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From 1 July 2021 a new initiative and Medicare rebatable consultation was introduced and will continue until 30 June 2023.  There is no requirement for NEW patients to have an existing face-to-face services provided by Northbridge Medical Centre to receive Medicare rebate.

Northbridge Medical Centre is committed to providing high standards of care in our clinics for face-to-face Sexual Health checks and consultation for all types of  STD and STI. In order to continue our dedication to providing the highest level of care to all our patients, we are now providing easily accessible Telehealth STD and STI consultations and screening.

Types of scenarios and symptoms suitable for STD and STI Telehealth consultation:

  • Routine asymptomatic sexual health check
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) consultation, scripts and testing
  • Unusual discharge from the penis, vagina or anus
  • Pain during sex or urination
  • Abnormal or unusual vaginal bleeding, especially after having sex
  • Pain in the scrotum or testicles

Types of scenarios and symptoms that may not be suitable for STD and STI Telehealth consultation: (can still start with Telehealth consultation and doctor will advise you further actions during the consult)

  • Lumps and bumps on the genitals
  • Sores, blisters, ulcers, warts or rashes in the genital area
  • Consultation that may lead on procedural treatment by the doctors such as cryotherapy or injection of antibiotic

How to book for Telehealth STD and STI consultation:

  • Book a Telehealth consultation online or by calling the practice
  • A time will be allocated for the consultation
  • Reception staff will call you and advise on fees and method of payment
  • Doctor will start the consultation with a phone call to the number provided around the allocated time
  • During the phone consultation, the doctor may request video conferencing or request for you to come in for an examination, procedure or treatment
  • Doctor will also advise the method of test collection, usually involves pathology laboratory staff calling you to direct you to the nearest pathology laboratory to obtain the self-collection kit and for blood test
  • Doctor will also advise you the method of receiving scripts for medications, which is usually via eScript

Sexual Health Consultation :

  • Our doctor will usually ask questions about your sexual history and then talk you through the type of test requested and any treatment prescribed
  • The type of test requested by your doctor depends on the symptoms and risk factors
  • STI tests usually involves urine test and genital or anal swab test which you can take yourself
  • Occasionally a blood test will also be included in your testing
  • Sometimes a clinical examination may be required by the doctor and occasionally they may take additional swabs
  • Prior to completion of the consult, our doctor will discuss different options of following up for your results. These will be back within 3 to 7 days
  • It is important to organise an appropriate follow up appointment in order to ensure that all results are followed up and ensure treatment has been successful.
  • HIV, syphilis and hepatitis serology blood tests can take up to 12 weeks to turn positive. Our doctor may discuss with you about any requirements for repeat testing.

Book in a Telehealth appointment

Take advantage of the convenience and safety benefits offered with Telehealth consultations. Contact us here or call 08 9228 8339 if you want to learn more about Northbridge Medical Centre services.

 

 

 

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