Telehealth: a new way to see your GP

Advice from Dr Karina Lim on Telehealth

Australia has never before faced such a dramatic and rapid change to the way we live our lives. Despite home isolation, many of use have the privilege to still be able to connect with the outside world through technology.

If you’ve lived in rural or remote Australia, you will understand the difficulty in getting access to medical care. For many of these communities, telehealth has been the only way to access specialty services, and in some cases, the only way to “see” their General Practitioner. For those of us living in cities and regional Australia, we have little to no experience with telehealth.

So, what is telehealth?

Literally, “tele” means afar. Put together, telehealth means the provision of healthcare remotely using telecommunications technology such as telephone or video.

Why do we need telehealth?

Telehealth gives you, the patient, the opportunity to consult your doctor from the safety of your own home. You don’t have to wrangle the children into the car to get to the GP clinic. You don’t have to sit in a waiting room with sick patients. And if your doctor is running late, you can eat, work, or dance in your pyjamas while you wait for your GP to call.

But in all seriousness, telehealth is the safest way to provide healthcare for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors can conduct a full history, a modified examination, determine a likely diagnosis and work with you to develop an appropriate management plan. No, it is not the same as seeing a doctor face-to-face. Yes, there are limitations. However, your doctor can make a reasonable assessment as to whether you need to go to hospital, can stay at home, or should have follow-up in the clinic.

Is telehealth secure?

As with face-to-face consultations, telehealth consultations should be conducted in a manner to ensure your privacy. We endeavour to use telehealth systems that are secure. With respect to concerns about the potential to record telehealth consultations, each State/Territory has specific legislation relating to audio recordings of private conversations. In NSW, it is illegal to record a consultation without explicit consent by all parties ie. both doctor and patient must give permission.

What is the bottom line?

We are still here for you. You can still see us. It will just be in a different way … for now.


#telehealth #telehealthexplained #explainer #Sydneydoctors

Sydney Doctors COVID-19  Response Plan

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and to ensure that Sydney Doctors can continue to provide medical services to the best of our ability, we are offering General Medical Phone Consults and COVID 19 Phone Consults. Call 9233 3399 or book online.

We are still are seeing patients in our clinic that answer ‘NO’ to the following questions:

  1. Do you have respiratory symptoms? eg. sore throat, cough, runny nose, fever.

 (If you feel short of breath at rest or have difficulty breathing, please call 000)

  1. Have you returned from an overseas trip (ANY country) within the last 14 days?
  2. Are you concerned that you may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to COVID-19?