Telstra Health has launched a new GP telemedicine service – ReadyCare – that facilitates access to a doctor using phone or video to receive advice, treatment, diagnosis and prescriptions.
Registered doctors have been employed by the service which will operate 24-hours a day from a purpose built telemedicine centre in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria. The service can be accessed by calling 1800 READYCARE (1800732392) or through the ReadyCare app.
Shane Solomon, Managing Director of Telstra Health, said patients calling ReadyCare will first speak to a telemedicine assistant to determine if the call is suitable for a telemedicine consultation and a GP will then call them back at a time that suits the patient.
“We’ve seen what the digital revolution has meant for other sectors and we believe that healthcare in Australia will benefit from eHealth to better serve all Australians,” Solomon said.
“This will provide choice and convenience for people to access a GP regardless of their location or the time of day, particularly in circumstances when they find it hard to access a face to face doctor. Patients can talk with a GP using phone or video, upload images of their condition and receive comprehensive care.
“ReadyCare is based on technology and processes used by Medgate, the leading telemedicine provider in Europe, who currently conduct more than 4,300 telemedicine consultations daily. The evidence-based clinical guidelines have been refined to meet Australian conditions, with input from a Clinical Advisory Panel and delivered by qualified, Australian based doctors.”
Gianin Zogg, who leads Medgate’s international business and has been involved with Medgate since its inception 15 years ago, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of ReadyCare, with Dr Amandeep Hansra appointed Chief Medical Officer.
The service will be advised by a Clinical Advisory Panel consisting of:
• Dr Chris Mitchell AM, past President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
• Associate Professor Bruce Chater OAM, past President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
• Associate Professor Sally McCarthy, past President of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
Solomon said that while ReadyCare will employ the doctors at the time of launch, the long term aim is for ReadyCare to be available for any GP to use with their regular patients.
“We’re introducing and operating ReadyCare in the first instance to demonstrate how telemedicine services can be provided safely and address issues such as timely access to care, but ultimately we want it to be a platform that will enable GPs to provide convenient and accessible telemedicine services for their own patients.
“ReadyCare is intended to be a complementary service, not a replacement for a regular face to face GP appointment. Telemedicine has proven very effective in delivering quality care for patients in other parts of the world, especially the USA and Europe and we are confident Australians will embrace the service.”
At today’s ReadyCare launch, Telstra Health also announced that Cover-More Group, Australia’s leading specialist travel insurance and medical assistance provider, had signed on as a foundation customer of the telemedicine service.
Cover-More Group Chief Executive Officer, Peter Edwards, said ReadyCare’s service meant that Australians travelling overseas with Cover-More would have the opportunity to consult an Australian-based GP regardless of where they were.
“It is a natural extension of what our customer value proposition is about. We can offer our customers the chance to talk to an Australian doctor rather than present to a foreign doctor in a foreign country with a foreign standard of health care. It’s another way that we can keep our customers safe and healthy and allow them to keep travelling.”
According to Edwards, Cover-More currently provides travel insurance to more than 1.8 million Australian travellers every year and has greater than 40% share of the national travel insurance market.