How does Virtual Care work?
Using technology, Virtual Care appointments can be held:
If you are interested in a Virtual Care appointment speak to your local health provider to see if it is right for your situation, and how your provider can help make the booking for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You can also see our Virtual Care flyer - Preparing for your appointment
Which clinicians offer virtual care?
All MLHD clinicians can offer services virtually, if it is clinically appropriate. Speak to your doctor, nurse, allied health or pharmacist to find out how you might be able to receive your services via Virtual Care.
What are the advantages of virtual care?
Virtual Care can make it easier and more convenient to attend appointments. This may mean:
- Less, or no travel time and associated costs and inconvenience for you
- Reduced disruption to your life (family, work, routine)
- Coordinated care by bringing together different people involved in your care.
People often mix virtual and face-to-face appointments, so you could choose to see your healthcare provider in person initially then follow up with them virtually later .
What are the disadvantages of virtual care?
Virtual consultations may not always be clinically appropriate. Your service may require physical examinations, investigations or tests that require you to attend in person.
Poor internet connection may cause the video or audio to fail.
Medicare has some restrictions on some medical services eligibility for Virtual Care.
What if I prefer face-to-face consultations?
It is always your decision whether Virtual Care is part of your care plan. You can always choose to see your clinician in person if you prefer.
What equipment do I need?
For your appointment you will need:
- Access to a reliable internet or mobile data connection.
- An email address.
- A suitable device with a camera, microphone and speakers, for example, a Windows or Mac computer, or an Apple iPad/iPhone or Android smart phone or tablet device
- A private, well-lit area where you will not be disturbed or interrupted during the consultation.
If you do not have access to this equipment, you may also attend the virtual consultation with participating GPs, or at your local community health facility.
Is virtual care secure and private?
MLHD uses software similar to Skype or Facetime, though it is completely secure, encrypted and confidential.
Your personal information, and the consultation, will be private and confidential. The consultation will not be recorded. The same privacy provisions and legislation relevant to traditional face-to-face appointments apply to all virtual appointments.
What will it cost me to use virtual care?
There is no cost to you from MLHD. You may be asked to give consent for MLHD to bulk bill Medicare (the same as a specialist face to face appointment)
Virtual Care will use some of your internet download capacity. As a guide, data usage for a 15 minute video call is approximately 80MB and for an audio-only call is approximately 10MB. This is similar to Skype and Facetime usage.
If your GP takes part, you will need to ask them if there are any costs to you.
The NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation has some great resources for getting started with Virtual Care, including some tips for preparing for a virtual appointment. See our links menu.