Payments also agreed for remote non-Covid-19 triage consultations by telephone and telemedicine platforms
Payment for remote Covid-19 triage consultations for all General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme, eligible medical card patients and private patients, has been agreed between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO).
The support payment for the Covid-19 emergency covers all types of remote triage consultation whether by telephone, or other forms of telemedicine such as online video platforms.
In addition, for GMS and other eligible medical card patients, a “non-Covid 19” remote consultation fee has also been agreed, according to the IMO.
The remote triage fee for Covid-19 for eligible medical card patients, and private patients, has been set at €34.
The fee for “non-Covid-19” remote consultations for GMS and other eligible medical card patients has been agreed at €25.
One of the latest video telehealth platforms being made available free of charge this week to doctors and allied healthcare professionals for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency, is from Irish company MyClinic365.
MyClinic365 was co-founded by Dr Laura Malone, a GP in practice in Killarney for 14 years.
This week, she successfully switched patient appointments at her own practice to remote telehealth appointments to minimise the risk of person-to-person transmission.
The platform enables doctors to schedule, manage and collect payments for remote tele-consultations with patients for either Covid-19 or non-Covid-19 health issues, and uses a realistic “chatbot” to make appointments. What the patient needs is either a smartphone or a PC and an “decent” internet connection.
Dr Malone told Irish Medical Times the advantages were that it was keeping doctors and patients safe. It was proving useful for maintaining doctor-patient contact, and while patients were initially “slightly bemused”, the feedback was that they were “delighted”.
It could not be used for every patient contact but had proved useful for recent consultations for rashes, or where patients were not sick but wanted a conversation on results.
She said: “We have seen an immediate benefit at our practice, and we thought donating the use of this telehealth platform for the duration of the emergency is the least we can do in the fight against Covid-19.”
According to MyClinic365, each practice can typically be up and running in less than 10 minutes. No special software or setup is required beyond a PC and “a decent internet connection”.