Industry meets over telehealth standards

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Industry meets over telehealth standards

RACGP launches telehealth helpline.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has enlisted technology vendors to inform its development of telehealth standards for the Government.

The College has until October to introduce video consultation standards for the Government’s $618.5 million telehealth rebate scheme.

It announced this week that it had met with Microsoft, IBM, AIIA, Telstra, Optus, AAPT and BT Australasia.

Medical technology supplier Medtel and video conferencing vendors Lifesize, Polycom, Vidyo, Attend Anywhere and Vantage Systems also attended.

The meeting was chaired by former Australian Medical Association president Mukesh Haikerwal and attended by Medibank Health Solutions.

Attendees highlighted a need for interoperability, a management platform to support billing and scheduling and a shared national service provider directory to identify and connect providers.

The RACGP also noted that all solutions should focus on “patient care, safety, privacy and confidentiality”, calling for clear and consistent standards that would support quality and safety of systems.

Since the telehealth rebate scheme was introduced on 1 July, the RACGP said it had been “inundated with enquiries from members and the industry”.

Medical professionals have previously raised concerns over the scheme’s lax technical requirements.

The scheme currently offers clinicians a $6000 one-off “Telehealth On-Board Incentive” as long as they conduct a consultation over “audio-visual link”.

"Members need urgent guidance in regards to quality, safety, and technical standards,” RACGP e-health spokesman Nathan Pinskier said.

“Overwhelmingly the telehealth industry is keen to ensure that products meet both doctors' and patients' needs and make it easy for doctors 'to do the right thing'.

The College invited telehealth-related enquiries through its newly established service centre, 1800 257 053.

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