GP After Hours Mount Lawley is a community based, privately-owned after-hours clinic, located in Perth, Western Australia.

We caught up with the After Hours manager, Gina Romeo, to discuss the telehealth dilemma that she and many practices are currently facing during these unprecedented times.

Gina explained, “Once restrictions were implemented for COVID-19, we noticed a significant drop in patient numbers. At first, we resisted telehealth as the nature of our business is treating semi-urgent patients and we weren’t sure if it could work for us. We didn’t know how we would implement it, whether our computer system would support it or how our Doctors, staff, and patients would receive it.

Making the Change

GP After Hours Mount Lawley has been no stranger to change. Having moved location 5 years ago and originally only offered walk-in consults, they recognised the changing needs of their patients 4 years ago and switched to online appointment bookings with HealthEngine. They now have found themselves adapting and changing once again.

“We soon realised that we needed to once again modify our model and provide all modes of consultation as there are many people at this time, that can’t or may not feel comfortable to attend in person. Our main focus is to provide care for those who need us, however that may be.

From a business perspective, many other practices have been forced to reduce their hours or close their doors. We support a large number of staff and Doctors and hoped that by introducing telehealth, it would also help us to remain open through this difficult time,” said Gina.

Adoption of telehealth

With 24 GPs currently on the GP After Hours Mount Lawley roster, all have undertaken this new service.

“We implemented it on Thursday 9th April and had quite a few bookings over the Easter long weekend. We’ve had a steady flow of bookings ever since.”

Gina expressed, “The GPs that have used it so far have loved it. We set it up on a laptop computer as our system did not support it and the Doctors have found it to be quite convenient. We prefer telehealth to phone consultations as with the nature of our business, most patients are new to our practice and we wanted a more personal service than telephone. We’ve also had patients express compliments regarding the service as they felt they were in a proper consultation with the Doctor.”

How telehealth has helped

As a practice operating 7-days a week and open until 11 pm Monday-Friday and until 10 pm on weekends and public holidays, GP After Hours Mount Lawley is available to patients at times not considered normal opening hours. Telehealth has enabled their practice to continue operating their usual hours, expanded their reach, and helped support patient numbers.

“We have remained open and been able to continue to offer care to our patients. We have also been able to minimise risk to staff, Doctors, and patients. Patients can still attend face-to-face appointments when necessary, but we felt it was important to offer an alternative option for people that couldn’t attend in person.

We’ve even had telehealth consults with people in remote areas, which before turning on telehealth, would not have been possible.”

Telehealth post Coronavirus (COVID-19)

There is no doubt about the severity of the impact coronavirus (COVID-19) has already had on our economy. The heightened uncertainty of what may happen post COVID-19 is still a major concern. Being able to offer an additional appointment option for your patients is a huge benefit.

Gina explains, “I think once things return to normal, we could continue to offer telehealth as it ensures medical care is accessible to anyone in Australia, especially as our practice offers such a comprehensive range of availability.”

Why choose HealthEngine as your telehealth provider?

Our end-to-end fully integrated Secure Video Telehealth solution ensures you only ever pay for what you use. It requires minimal configuration and no additional tech or training is needed.

How telehealth works for your practice and patients

Step 1: Patient books their telehealth appointment
Step 2: Telehealth appointment is added to your PMS
Step 3: Patient receives secure telehealth video link
Step 4: The patient enters the virtual waiting room
Step 5: The practitioner starts the telehealth appointment

Ready to set up your practice with telehealth?

Find out more about HealthEngine telehealth here.

 

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