Total Health Care Patient Policy and Consent
Total Health Care (THC) requests information and your consent to participate in both face to face and telepractice consultation with your practitioner.
What is Telepractice?
Telepractice is the use of telecommunication to provide services to patients. The practitioner typically uses videoconferencing (Zoom, Skype or other) but may utilise other formats, such as telephone or email. Telepractice is sometimes referred to as telehealth.
What does a telepractice consultation involve?
A telepractice consultation usually involves some or all of the following:
Your practitioner will discuss your health and your health history with you and, where appropriate, will offer information and advice.
You may bring a support person with you, as you might in a face to face consultation.
If you attend a health service to participate in a telepractice consultation, other health professionals may be present.
The consultation may not be recorded, by video or audio, unless your practitioner arranges written permission to do so.
What are the potential benefits of telepractice?
Improve access to services
Reduce the need for travel
Decrease exposure to infectious disease
What are the potential risks of telepractice?
Be impacted by technical problems, such as delays due to technology failures.
Not offer the same visual and sound quality for observations and modelling
Require someone onsite with you to support the practitioner
Not feel the same as an onsite session
Increase exposure to privacy and digital security risks. (See next section.)
Will my privacy be protected?
Practitioners and administration staff at THC are subject to the Privacy Act 1988 and must comply with obligations related to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, including through telepractice. The practitioner must maintain confidentiality and privacy standards during sessions, and in creating, keeping and transmitting records.
At times, audio and video recordings of sessions may be undertaken, as might occur in a face to face consultation. The practitioner will inform you of the reason for the recording and how it will be stored. Your permission will be requested. You can refuse to have the telepractice consultation recorded for any reason.
While the practitioner is obligated to meet standards to protect your privacy and security, telecommunication, including videoconference, may increase exposure to hacking and other online risks; as with all online activities, there is no absolute guarantee of privacy. You may decrease the risk by using a secure internet connection, meeting with the practitioner from a private location, and only communicating using secure channels.
What does informed consent mean?
There are a few important principles related to informed consent:
You must be given relevant information. Ask the practitioner if you have questions about telepractice and the services offered.
You have the right to understand the information. Ask the practitioner if you do not understand.
You have the right to choose. If you do not agree to telepractice, you may refuse to participate.
You have the right to stop using telepractice at any time. You can change your mind about telepractice or a specific activity or procedure, even in the middle of a session.
You can agree or refuse in writing or verbally. Your consent and understanding of these terms is given by replying ‘YES’ to the sms appointment confirmation prior to your scheduled appointment or in certain cases by simply attending a scheduled telepractice appointment. By replying ‘YES’ you acknowledge that you have been provided an indication of the fee by the reception team at the time of booking your appointment.
If we do not hear from you on the day that the sms was sent to you or your reply ‘NO’, your appointment will be cancelled.
You can ask about alternatives to telepractice. If you refuse or change your mind about telepractice services, your practitioner will discuss any other options with you. The practitioner may or may not be able to offer alternative services.
Important information about payment
- Cancellation fees and some services (such as psychometric testing) do not have a Medicare rebate.
- All appointment fees are to be paid for at the time of consultation by the credit card (we only accept VISA or MasterCard) you have provided at the time of booking your appointment.
- We are unable to accept appointments without your full valid credit card details being provided at the time of booking the appointment. We will provide you with a receipt for the charges by us via email unless you specifically request an alternate method.
- Please send through a referral from your GP (in particular for all appointments with physicians and psychiatrists) together with any recent pathology results, psychometric testing, school reports, etc. at the time of booking your appointment.
- A 48 hour cancellation policy applies, unless you speak with reception (click here for contact details) with more than 48 hours’ notice prior to the scheduled appointment time.