Telehealth for Pathologists

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MedicRelief is committed to keeping pathology services informed throughout the rapidly evolving coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Through this webpage, we will keep you informed with the latest information as it becomes available. It contains links to up-to-date information, guidance and resources from governments and other trusted sources for pathology services and their patients.

Pathology services are provided by public and private laboratories and provide the foundations on which much of the science of medicine is based.

Pathology Services in the Australian context

Private laboratories are majority funded by the Australian Government via a fee-for-service basis with the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). Public laboratories operating within public hospitals are mainly funded by the state government’s public hospital funding allocation, however hospitals also access MBS where possible.

It has been estimated that pathology investigations feature in up to 70 per cent of medical diagnoses. In Australia, over half of all Australians have a pathology test each year and there are currently about 34 million pathology requests and 100 million pathology reports produced annually. Half of all pathology tests are undertaken on 7 per cent of patients. We can assume that most testing is performed for those with chronic disease.

A number of these pathology tests require multiple reports for different test types and multiple copies are distributed to clinicians. The Pathology Funding Agreement aims to constrain the increase in pathology costs to approximately 5 per cent per annum.

Context in Digital Health

There are a number of key business flows that occur within digital health in Australia, as outlined by the Australian Digital Health Agency in Figure 1 below…

Figure 1: Digital health business flows for pathology (Credit: Australian Digital Health Agency)

According to the Australian Digital Health Agency, the general flows are described as…

  1. A requesting clinician sends a referral (frequently in paper form given to the consumer) to the pathology provider. This form (electronic or paper) provides consent and identify information for future use when accessing My Health Record.

  2. The pathology provider will provide the report (and any subsequent updates) to the requesting clinician and any other listed recipient on the request.

  3. Electronic pathology reports can be used to share information about pathology tests via an individual’s digital health record. The Pathology Report PDF may contain one or more tests that are uploaded by the pathology provider to the individual’s digital health record.

  4. Clinicians can retrieve the pathology reports from My Health Record using either their clinical information system or the national provider portal. Results are available in this way as soon as they have been loaded to My Health Record.

  5. Consumers can view their pathology reports on My Health Record after 7 days after their test. This delay allows the requesting clinician to review the results and determine if further clinical counselling is required.

This information was last updated Friday, 1st of May 2020



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COVID-19: MedicRelief Makes All Telehealth Video Calls Involving Healthcare Rebates Free

FREE TELEHEALTH VIDEO CALLS INVOLVING HEALTHCARE REBATES

Founded in 2011 by a group of doctors working in regional Australia, MedicRelief.com started as a way for us to provide relief to our colleagues when they require support or time off work. The work that culminated in the service you see today started in 2015 when we expanded to provide medical relief to patients and became a video-calling Telehealth service.

Over the years, we designed MedicRelief to complement our doctor’s existing private practice while giving them control over their time. This means the service is designed to be paid out-of-pocket so that doctors can connect with their own patients even when overseas.

Being global, we limited doctors to invite-only to ensure quality and patient-safety, but we never imagined a world with COVID-19. As an Australian tech company, we have been doing our part to help while closely monitoring the pandemic and how it is affecting our clinical practice across the country and the world.

When the Australian Government announced the COVID-19 National Health Plan, we felt we must do more to help. As more countries begin to commit to providing temporary Bulk-Billed Telehealth Services, we decided to take this opportunity to waive any fees associated with the delivery of our service in relation to any Bulk-Billed telehealth services until the end date of each country’s commitments.

Essentially, this means MedicRelief will not process any healthcare rebates that might involve Medicare, NHS, Medicaid or other healthcare plans with full coverage and will pass that responsibility onto existing medical practices or other solutions. After the 30th of September 2020, $5 per call associated with facilitating partially-eligible, federally-funded transactions will be processed as per the current arrangement unless the Bulk-Billed commitment continues.

However, in order for patients to be Bulk-Billed, all consultations must be initiated or organised by their doctor or through the doctor’s clinic. This means, even though patients can still find their own doctors through MedicRelief, the medical practitioner must have already agreed to this bulk-billing arrangement.

Starting from the 1st of April 2020, any certified healthcare provider can request an invitation here and join the community of doctors behind MedicRelief.

For more information, visit… https://MedicRelief.com Release date: 1st April 2020

Original Post – COVID-19: MedicRelief Makes All Telehealth Involving Healthcare Rebates Free