Patient Policy & Consent

This applies to face-to-face and telepractice consultations

Total Health Care Patient Policy and Consent

Total Health Care requests information and your consent to participate in both face to face and telepractice consultations 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?

Telepractice can:

Improve access to services

Reduce the need for travel

Decrease exposure to infectious disease

What are the potential risks of telepractice?

Telepractice might:

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 reception 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.

There are some delivery risks in using email and forms contained on this website together with other electronic methods of communication, including electronic mail.  There is the risk of interception by third parties or non-receipt or delayed receipt of a message. Computer viruses, and similar damaging items, can also be transmitted through electronic means. Total Health Care uses virus scanning software to reduce these risks and ask that you do the same.  However, it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of introducing viruses by communicating electronically with Total Health Care.  By communicating with Total Health Care electronically, you agree to these terms and also release Total Health Care from all claims, losses, expenses and liabilities caused by any electronic risks encountered by you and arising directly or indirectly out of that communication.

The information collected by Total Health Care will be used for the purpose of providing treatment to you. Personal information including your name, address and other details will be used for the purpose of addressing accounts to you, as well as processing payments and writing to you about any issues affecting your treatment.

We may disclose your health information to other healthcare professionals or require it from them in the judgment of your practitioner.  In this regard, it is a standard policy of practitioners at this practice to send a report to your referring practitioner.  Should you have concerns in this regard, please let the treating practitioner know during your appointment.

We may also use parts of your health information for audit and/or research purposes, in study groups or at seminars as this may provide benefit to other patients.  Should this happen, your personal identity will not be disclosed without your written consent to do so.

Your patient history, treatment records and any other material relevant to your treatment will be kept for 7 years, after which time it will be deleted.  If you are under 18 years of age, then your records will be kept for 7 years following your 18th birthday.

Your health information will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.  Disclosure will not be made to any person not involved in either your treatment or the administration of this practice, without your prior consent, unless as ordered by law.  If you have any queries or concerns about the handling of your health information, please raise these concerns with your treating practitioner during your appointment.

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 receive your response on the day that the sms was sent, you will receive a call from the Total Health Care reception. Your appointment will be cancelled if Total Health Care is unable to contact you.

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

By completing one of our forms, attending an appointment or utilising any Total Health Care services you agree that payment for services provided by this practice are to be made in full no later than at the time of the appointment. You may be liable for the full appointment cost plus GST, for non-attendance or cancellation with less than 48 hours’ notice before the appointment time or at your practitioner’s discretion.

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 schedule appointments without a current referral (for a Physician or Psychiatrist at Total Health Care) together with your full valid credit card details. We will provide you with a receipt for the charges by us via email unless you specifically request an alternate method.

Please also send through any recent pathology results, psychometric testing, school reports, etc. at the time of booking your appointment.

Please nominate one person (the account holder) to be responsible for paying for all appointments, as we are no longer able to offer split bills or alternating the account holder, even in the case of separated families.

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.

Whilst agreeing that payment for service(s) provided at this practice are due and payable at the time of each service. You also agree to indemnify Total Health Care practice, keep indemnified and will be liable for against any claim, action, damage, cost, charge, expense, outgoing or payment, etc. the Total Health Care practice may suffer, incur, or be held liable for, by reason of non-payment for service(s) provided by this practice when due. This will include but is not limited to administration fees, debt collection agency fees, court costs, etc.

You also agree that if you or your child or person for whom you have responsibility for, damages any Total Health Care property whilst attending the Total Health Care premises you agree to pay for the replacement of said item whether discovery of said breakage is brought to your attention at the time of the incident or not. Upon discovery of broken or damaged item(s) your credit card will be charged immediately to replace said breakage, and a receipt will be provided subsequently.

Total Health Care requests that any aggressive, offensive and abusive behaviour not occur in communication with Total Health Care, whether in person, over the telephone, via email, etc.  We ask that our staff be treated with respect at all times.  We do not expect our staff to tolerate behaviour that we consider to be unacceptable.

By communicating with Total Health Care you agree to the above.

Our Total Health Care Patient Policy and Consent is reviewed regularly and will be updated above in accordance with any policy changes.  Please refer to this policy from time to time for any updates.