With most of Australia easing their restrictions, the general population have welcomed the more relaxed movement despite being more overly cautious than usual with respect to particular hygiene practices. In turn, the majority of GP practices around the country are now starting to notice an upward trend in face-to-face visitations across the board, particularly over the last two weeks, however, this has not been anywhere near the pre-COVID levels. Predominantly, this can be attributed to the introduction and adoption of telehealth services.
For the most part, GPs are reporting a positive reaction to the changes, whilst some are still questioning the overall impact to the quality of care. One GP in western Sydney states,
“Whilst there has been a good uptake of our new telehealth capability, which is great for discussing general results or topping up on routine scripts, there are a small number of the population that are utilising this service for conditions that would be far better diagnosed in person”.
It’s safe to say that telehealth will be the way of the future and is here to stay. So much so, that a number of organisations have built their entire business model around this and a few phone apps have entered the market purely dedicated to this type of service.
So if it will be around for the foreseeable future, what are some of the things that practices can do to adopt the service without compromising on the quality of care delivered to their patients? Interviewing over 100 practices around the country has provided some interesting insights
- Keep the lines of communication open: Being able to now bill for telehealth consults means that you can now be a proactive health service. This means that you can actively monitor your patients and provide a higher level of care than what you could have previously when you were having to wait for the patient to walk in the door. Patients will be more thankful that you have gone out of your way to monitor their health and can be a great way to get to know your patients better.
- Build it and they will come: Good practices will inspire confidence in patients choosing face-to-face consults. When they can see that you are consciously looking after their health, they will feel more confident in adopting in-person consultations. Some practices are wiping down pens after each use. Some are turning their nurse consultation rooms into mini hospitals, quarantining the sicker patients while a doctor is made available to view them. Some are even checking temperatures before they enter.
- Information is power: Most patients do not know the symptoms, risk factors, nor the implications of COVID. Having flyers, posters, TV ads and the like will go a long way to keeping your patients informed and educated, just like with any other condition.
- Be prepared: With more patients now returning to your practice, and some doctors choosing to work reduced hours, it would be a great time to start rostering on doctors to accommodate this increased demand.
If you need any support with finding doctors to help with the new increase in demand, please feel free to reach out to us today for a confidential discussion about your hiring needs. If you are a doctor looking for a new opportunity, please also feel free to reach out as we can help point you in the right direction. Careers Connections has also increased our staffing numbers in preparation to assist facilities cater for this increased and rapid demand, catering to over 2000 health facilities nationally.
We look forward to getting in touch!