The world is changing. Now comes a need for innovation and lateral thinking to continue to provide our patients with excellent care and service. Telehealth, while reasonably new in Osteopathy, aims to bridge a much needed gap in health communication. In this blog we will explore what Telehealth is, discuss what to expect in an online consultation, and answer some common questions.
Telehealth occurs in place of a typical consultation when distance and other factors create barriers for face to face consultation. It involves the use of a video based service which allows us to conduct an online consultation between practitioner and patient.
As Osteopaths, we acknowledge that a large part of our practice is in the form of manual therapy, which is difficult to replicate in an online consultation. However, we are still able to provide you with the great service we are known for! The assessment, diagnostic advice, lifestyle advice, rehabilitation programs and self-therapy strategies we give are all still the same. We can still advise you on what you should and shouldn’t do; the best ways to stretch this and strengthen that; and help educate you about any injury you may have. We want to empower you to help yourself!
The benefits of offering Telehealth are varied:
- Allows us to overcome any distance barriers.
- Cheaper consultation fee.
- No travel time required.
- Can be completed in more varied environments – home, work etc
- Allows the practitioner to assess ergonomic setup if necessary.
Before your consult
In the lead up to your appointment time, our team will be in touch via email with a link to download the necessary software to conduct the consultation. We are currently using a software program called Zoom which is a free and easy-to-use video conference service. Electronic equipment required is outlined in the FAQ section below. 10-15 minutes before your scheduled consultation, we will get in touch to troubleshoot any software problems or other issues which you may have. Our team will also send through detailed instructions of how to complete payment (via the use of encrypted software) which can be completed following the consultation. It is also a good idea to setup your home desk before the consult. See some ergonomic tips via one of our blog posts here.
During your consult
Your online consultation will follow in the same manner as your typical physical consultation, minus the manual therapy of course! Your practitioner will conduct the normal case history and ask you some questions about your injury, before doing a physical assessment. The assessment will generally require you to demonstrate different movements and activities, as well as placing your body into different positions to help your practitioner ascertain what is going on. Upon completing the physical assessment, your practitioner will take you through different strategies in order to help your condition – this may include self-massage instructions, management advice, rehab advice, lifestyle advice, ergonomic advice or (likely) a combination of all of the above.
Your consultation is likely to take around 20 minutes rather than the usual 30 minutes we have in physical consultations.
After your consult
Following your consultation, your practitioner will send any resources or management plans through to you via email. They can also discuss any future appointments with you.
At this point you can finalise your payment through the steps outlined in the initial email before your first consultation.
You may not have even heard the term ‘Telehealth’ before this week. Let’s go through a few frequently asked questions surrounding Telehealth and online consultation in general.
How do I book in a Telehealth consultation?
The easiest way to book in a telehealth consultation with one of our practitioners is online – just as you do with your normal consult. You will have to select the ‘Telehealth’ appointment type. If you are finding this difficult or would rather speak to someone before booking, you can give us a call on (03) 9773 8085.
What equipment will I require?
As a minimum, you will require a stable internet connection, as well as a mobile device, tablet, laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and microphone. Laptop or desktop computers are ideal as we will often ask you to step away from your device to demonstrate certain movements and exercises.
Does the online consultation cost the same amount as my regular consultation?
No – a reduced fee (half price) will be charged for your online consultation.
How can I provide payment for my consultation?
An email detailing payment will be sent to you before your initial consultation which outlines the method in which you can pay the consultation fee.
Do I need a follow up appointment?
As with our regular physical service, the amount of consultations required for each individual is varied. We will discuss this with you during your consultation.
Is this covered by my private health insurance?
Osteopathy Telehealth appointments are not currently covered by private health cover.
What should I wear during my consultation?
As with your regular consultation, it is best to wear loose, comfortable clothing for your online consultation. Remember that your practitioner will need to be able to assess your movement through the video stream only, so appropriate clothing is really important.
If you have any questions surrounding Telehealth or would like to gather some more information, please give our team at Total Balance Healthcare a call on (03) 9773 8085. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you online!