Frequently asked questions for GPs about telehealth

What is digital telehealth?

Digital telehealth is a general term describing the remote delivery of health services via telecommunications technologies that can stream and store data. The updated technology includes new videoconferencing units located across most SA Health sites that enable consultations and appointments to occur across two or more locations. The technology can also be used to support patient and health related education and administration.

What are the advantages?

  • increased availability of services
  • accessibility to specialist services
  • improved affordability
  • reduced travel time for consumers
  • reinforces local services
  • provides health services within the consumer’s family network

Can the private health system or external organisations use the Digital Telehealth Network?

The SA Digital Telehealth Network is not presently available to organisations external to SA Health. The sharing of network services outside the public health system will be evaluated in the future.

Can the Digital Telehealth Network be used for other health services?

Yes. Specialist clinical services such as Cancer, Renal, Cardiac, Burns and Rehabilitation are now successfully conducting telehealth sessions, and the list of clinical services is expanding.

Can rural GPs use the Digital Telehealth Network?

In the first instance, rural GPs can use the SA Digital Telehealth Network locally from a country location when consulting with a public health specialist to support care delivery to public health consumers.

Alternatively, rural GPs can use a privately procured internet connection and a standards-based software application to link to the Digital Telehealth Network.

What is required for GPs to link to the Digital Telehealth Network?

  • a privately procured internet connection that provides consistent and reliable bandwidth
  • a high definition capable webcam
  • a high quality headset or microphone with speakers
  • a standards compliant video conferencing unit software application.

Can laptops or tablets be used to connect to the Digital Telehealth Network?

Yes; if GPs provide their own internet connection and the other requirements mentioned.

The CHSALHN internet is not to be used due to bandwidth limitations. Alternatively, the CHSALHN video conferencing unit can be used for clinical sessions for public health consumers.

Where can I find more information on the Medicare Benefits Schedule and telehealth?

Specialist telehealth consultations may be bulk-billed to Medicare if your patient is from an eligible remote area (RA 2 to 5), and more than 15km away from the nearest provider. See the Department of Human Services website for more information 

Further information on the SA Digital Telehealth Network

For further information on the Digital Telehealth Network, email or see the the Telehealth web page.