FAQs for Telehealth psychology sessions

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These are the most commonly asked questions about telehealth services. 


  1. What is Telehealth?

Telehealth is the name given to health services that are supplied via video and online platforms or via the phone, sometimes known as virtual sessions.

Telehealth is used extensively in rural and remote regions of Australia and provides positive outcomes for overall health and wellbeing. Both of these options are available under the Federal Government’s new initiative of Universal Telehealth in response to the Covid-19 pandemic

2. Does telehealth work as well as F2F psychology sessions?

There are some limitations to telehealth services and obvious differences with face-to-face sessions. Not being physically present with your psychologist might change the dynamic somewhat and technical issues which sometimes occur can interrupt the flow of a session. Generally speaking, the conversation is very similar to a F2F session and if technical issues occur we will go to using the phone.

Jocelyn suggests, where possible, to have a F2F session first before moving to telehealth sessions. This can help with rapport building and getting comfortable talking about your difficulties before using technology to mediate this.

3. What is Bulk-billing?

Bulk billing is the term used in Australia to refer to healthcare services that are provided at no cost to the patient. Rather than paying a fee for the service and then seeking a partial rebate through Medicare, your medical practitioner will bill Medicare directly, leaving you with no out-of-pocket expenses.

4. How can I access the Telehealth bulk billing rate?

Jocelyn provides limited bulk-billing appointments for those who hold valid commonwealth concession cards. Please discuss this with her.

5. Can I still attend Face-2-Face (F2F) sessions with you during COVD19?

There is still availability for F2F sessions with Jocelyn, but strict hygiene procedures will apply, including physical distancing. The cost of these sessions have also been subjected to a temporary fee reduction and will remain valid until September 30, 2020.

6. How do I access Telehealth?

When you book an appointment with Jocelyn she will contact you with details on how to connect with each other during the session time allocated to you.

Jocelyn uses Coviu, which has been developed by the CSIRO specifically for use in Telehealth service provision. Your access to the online platform is of no cost to you. 

7. What if I don’t have access to the Internet?

Access to the internet is not a barrier under this new initiative. Sessions can be completed via phone to allow you the same level of support that would be provided via the online platform or F2F.

8. Do I need any special equipment for Telehealth?

All you need is access to a webcam and microphone, which both come standard with most smartphones, tablet devices or laptops. You can also use your phone’s standard hands-free equipment (earbuds with attached microphone). To use Covui video software on a smartphone you will need to download an app (you won’t need to do this from a laptop)

Remember: if you don’t have access to this type of equipment, you can access sessions via the phone.

9. What kind of connection do I need for a smooth Telehealth session?

Your internet speed needs to sit around 1.5Mbps. You can check your internet speed at www.speedtest.net

While everyone is at home self-isolating and physical distancing, it might be a good idea to make sure there isn’t too much internet traffic happening at the time during your session, just to be sure.

Jocelyn uses Telstra cable internet which averages high internet speeds across the day.

10. What if we can’t connect for the session, or it keeps dropping out?

Given the massive burden on our broadband network that is about to happen when everyone transitions to Telehealth, being unable to connect or drop outs are most probably going to occur.

Jocelyn will try 3 times to connect with you at the beginning of a session. If this is unsuccessful, she will give you a call and complete the appointment over the phone.

11. What about privacy and confidentiality during a Telehealth session?

Your privacy and confidentiality will be maintained in accordance with our psychology registration standards and any existing legislation. Jocelyn will conduct sessions in a private room from her home using headphones to minimise the risk of you being heard by anyone who may be nearby.

However, it is your responsibility to ensure your own privacy and confidentiality is maintained at your end by taking care to make sure you are in a space that is quiet and private. Jocelyn does not take any responsibility for privacy and confidentiality breaches that occur at your end.

It is also important to note that CoViu adheres to very strict guidelines set out by HIPAA which ensures end-to-end encryption, a peer-to-peer connection and CoViu has no access to the data at all. This means that our video and conversation is not able to be easily hacked into, nor can the data be harvested and sold to third parties.

Jocelyn will not record or take screen-shots during the session.

12. How do I pay for the session?

For private or out-of-pocket clients – You will be required to pay for the session upfront and you will then get a tax receipt for you to claim with your Private Health Insurer (if you have cover).

If you have a Mental Health Care Plan you will be required to pay the full fee of the session and Jocelyn will process the rebate on your behalf online through Halaxy (booking and practice management software).

For bulk-billing clients – there is no need for you to pay anything for the session. Jocelyn will send you a document for you to sign which gives us permission to claim the rebate on your behalf. Just like you would be used to doing when you see your bulk-billing GP.

13. Will my Private Health Insurer pay for this?

You will need to contact your insurer directly to get this information. It was announced recently that most PHIs have changed their benefit schedule to allow Telehealth to be rebateable during the Covid-19 pandemic.