Questions and answers

Q & As about specialist appointments via telehealth

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of information and communication technology to provide healthcare over a distance.

One of the ways telehealth is used in WA is for follow-up outpatient services using videoconferencing. Every day, regional patients attend telehealth appointments via videoconference with specialists in Perth and regional hospitals, for outpatient services including:

  • plastic surgery (wound clinics, burns, etc)
  • pain management
  • urology
  • neurology
  • gastroenterology
  • mental health and many more.

What are some of the benefits of a telehealth appointment for regional patients?

  • Less time away from home
  • Saves money on repeated trips to Perth for outpatient appointments
  • Reduces the stress and inconvenience of travel
  • Less time off work
  • No charge for public patients

How can I find out if telehealth is available in my community?

Telehealth coordinators can help you find out which services may be available in your local area.  Contact details for your regional telehealth coordinators are in the Contact Us.

How do I make an appointment?

Firstly, discuss with your specialist if your follow-up outpatient appointment could be conducted via telehealth closer to home. If it can, you will be contacted by the telehealth team in your area with the details.

What can I expect from an appointment?

A telehealth appointment is just like any other medical appointment except you will be speaking to the specialist on screen rather than face-to-face.  Many people say it feels no different to being in the same room with the specialist.

Your appointment will be held in a private telehealth room, usually at your local hospital or health centre.  You won’t be expected to operate any equipment yourself. 

If your specialist needs to see photographs, X-rays or test results, these can be organised before your appointment.  

All medical records are stored in the same way as those used in face-to-face appointments, in accordance with privacy legislation and WA Health standards. Any specialist notes become part of your confidential medical records.

How long will it take?

The duration of appointments vary depending on the discussion you have with your specialist, or if this is your first appointment. Sometimes, just like a face-to-face appointment, telehealth appointments with specialists can run behind schedule. Your patience and understanding is appreciated.

How private is a telehealth appointment?

Telehealth appointments are as private as face-to-face appointments. Both you and the specialist will be in a private room. Technical measures are in place to ensure the videoconference is secure.

What is the cost?

There is no extra cost to you.  The telehealth technology is provided by the Statewide Telehealth Service, and the health service by the provider.