Virtual Care, or Telehealth, uses technology to connect you with your clinician.
It’s another way to get the health care you need and an extension of the services we offer the people of Western Sydney.
Virtual Care is currently delivered in a few different ways.
- Video conferencing - Using a computer, laptop or phone to connect two or more people. All participants can see and speak to each other.
- Telephone - Traditional audio connection between two people.
- Store and forward - an electronic communication method of acquiring and storing of clinical information (including data, images, sound and video). The information is forwarded to, or retrieved by, another clinician for the purposes of clinical review for advice or management.
Virtual Care is also used to support different services.
- Clinical consultations between a doctor and a patient. Virtual Care through video conferencing or telephone connections provides an alternative to face-to-face appointments, or a hybrid model of care.
- Education and training of health care teams including large group education sessions, informal conversations and team meetings, case reviews, release of new clinical guidelines and the sharing of non-sensitive data.
In the future Virtual Care in Western Sydney will offer services like:
- Remote monitoring - Using a device or an app to collect information like blood pressure and sugar level. This information is sent back to the clinician or health care team, which means a patient can be at home but still be in contact with their health care team.
About Virtual Care
Virtual Care benefits for patients
Virtual Care lets you see your doctor, nurse or specialist, without having to visit them in person. It’s an easy, convenient way to connect with health professionals.
Virtual Care can be a good choice if:
- You live in a remote location
- You’re unable to attend a physical appointment or need to self-isolate
- You have work or other social commitments
- You want to reduce travel costs and times
- You’d like to access services not available in your area
- You want to self-manage your health conditions.
Virtual Care gives patients flexibility, convenience and choice.
There are also extra Virtual Care benefits that extend to a patient’s support network. Virtual Care can help your friends, family and carers by:
- Providing access to services otherwise unavailable
- Minimising the need for face-to-face specialist visits
- Ensuring equitable and timely access to services and improving continuity of care
- Providing social support and helping patients connect to loved ones
- Creating larger networks of care with consultations multiple parties can attend.
There are some situations where Virtual Care is not appropriate. As a patient, you will only ever be directed to a Virtual Care consultation if it has been deemed suitable by your clinician or health care team.
Virtual Care benefits for clinicians
Virtual Care helps clinicians connect with patients in different ways.
It can be used as an alternative to face-to-face consultations, or as part of a hybrid model of care, and it gives clinicians an opportunity to be flexible and responsive.
The result is stronger, more flexible clinical networks where patients receive care that is consistent and continuous, no matter where they are.
Extra benefits of Virtual Care include:
- Extended scope to rural and remote communities
- Improved clinical network with better communication and networking
- Increased opportunities for collaboration and integration
- Greater scope for flexible service delivery models and multidisciplinary care
- Improved access to education and professional development opportunities
- Enhanced support network for clinicians across NSW.
What kind of equipment is required for Virtual Care?
Equipment requirements vary with the type of Virtual Care being accessed.
Patients and clinicians will generally need the following:
- Access to a reliable internet connection
- A suitable device, like a desktop computer, laptop or smartphone. The most important thing is that this device has a camera, microphone and speakers
- A quiet area, free of distractions.
Is Virtual Care secure?
Virtual Care in Western Sydney Local Health District is safe and secure.
It’s delivered by platforms that have been approved for Telehealth and video conferencing. This ensures the privacy of the patients and clinicians is maintained.
We safely facilitate Virtual Care by providing access to these secure platforms.
How can Virtual Care be used?
Virtual Care is used in Western Sydney Local Health District in a variety of ways.
- Patient and clinician - A Virtual Care consultation between a patient and a clinician.
- Multiple participants - A Virtual Care consultation with a patient, clinician and additional participants like a carer, interpreter or another specialist.
- Health professional to health professional - Where clinicians use Virtual Care technology to share useful information and for multidisciplinary team discussions.
- Education and training - Using Virtual Care technology for learning and career development.
How can I get started?
Patients can find out how to join a Telehealth consultation here.
Clinicians and health care teams that are a part of Western Sydney Local Health District can find more information about setting up Virtual Care in their department here.