Telehealth – tips on how to do it in best practice

Dr Andrew Baird


Telehealth is the delivery of health services to patients remotely using information and communications technologies.

Since 2011, specialists have been using video telehealth for consultations with patients in regional, rural, and remote areas of Australia.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, supported by Medicare funding, specialists, general practitioners, and allied health practitioners have been using telehealth for about 20% of all consultations with patients throughout Australia. About 93% of telehealth is by phone; about 7% is by video. Telehealth means no risk of transmission of infection. Other benefits of telehealth for patients and for clinicians will be discussed.

Evidence will be presented for the role of telehealth for consultations in medicine.

This session will focus on video telehealth. Video is superior to phone as a substitute for an in-person consultation. The visual interaction enables enhanced communication, and indirect examination.

Contraindications to the use of video for consultations will be discussed.

Strategies will be discussed to optimise patient safety, care, and outcomes, and to optimise efficiency, for video consultations. This will include the appropriate selection and use of equipment, internet, video platform, and workflows, developing a consultation framework, developing consulting microskills, and accessing education for clinicians and for patients.


Andrew graduated from Edinburgh University in 1988. He trained in general practice in South West Scotland, in rural medicine in the Mid West region of WA, and in anaesthetics in the North West of England.

Andrew worked as a rural GP in Western Victoria for 11 years. He was associated with ALSO (now AMaRE) from 2002 to 2009, as an Instructor, Advisory Faculty, and Board member. He was a Senior Lecturer in General Practice at Flinders University, SA from 2007 to 2017, and a part-time Medical Educator for the Australian General Practice Training program from 2010 to 2018. Andrew is a tutor in professional practice for medical students at University of Melbourne.

Andrew is a general practitioner in Elwood, Victoria. His interests are in all areas of general practice and in telehealth.