Synapse Medical Services, a MedTech healthcare administration company based in Sydney, and Simbani Research, a research organisation based in the Northern Territory, are delighted to announce a joint Telehealth for the Bush (TH4B) Project.
Synapse Medical has been providing mobile technologies to help health professionals with medical appointments, Medicare billing, and other administrative tasks since 2010.
Synapse has a mobile phone app which is a complete medical billing system known as the Synapps MBS. It’s a one-of-a-kind app that lets doctors bill to Medicare from their mobile phones, and it connects specialists, GPs and nurses just like Uber connects drivers and riders.
This means the app can be used to connect primary healthcare providers, specialists, and patients for telehealth appointments. Additional functionality has been added to the technology for this project so that referrals can be made at the click of a button and administration is reduced. Thus, providing a compliant framework for the project and correct Medicare billing.
This is great news for the 500,000 people that live in Australia’s most remote locations as they have disproportionate access to health services and consequently, poorer health outcomes. That is, the further away from health services, the poorer the health outcomes.
Telehealth is part of the solution to this long-term problem. The trial phase of this project, in which around 30 patients have received care, is now over and 1st September 2021 marked the official launch of this innovative model to deliver telehealth to remote communities with the aim of providing better health outcomes for regional and remote Australians.
How it works
- Remote patients who are unable to access a GP, contact Synapse to request a telehealth consult with a Nurse Practitioner (NP).
- Synapse’s dedicated patient concierge, ensures the NP and an appropriate specialist are connected to collaborate on the care of the patient.
- The NP has a telehealth consult with the patient and bills using the Synapps MBS app.
- The NP refers the patient to the specialist using the in-app referral function, and may also request tests and imaging.
- The specialist receives the referral via the app and arranges a bulk billed telehealth consultation with the patient. So, there are no out-of-pocket costs for the specialist appointment, and referrals to allied health professionals can be arranged as required
So far patients, who had previously been denied adequate access to appropriate care, have had appointments, diagnostic imaging and even surgery. The response from the communities and specialists wanting to help has been overwhelming. Synapse CEO, Margaret Faux, comments “we started this as we simply wanted to help and thought that our technology could help manage the process. Partnering with Simbani Research has given us access to the local knowledge, experienced collaborators and the necessary telehealth infrastructure to create previously missing connectivity. We have seen some fantastic patient outcomes already, outcomes that would not have happened but for this initiative. We are very proud of that, but now is the time to grow the project further”.
The trained patient concierge at Synapse is responsible for coordinating the journey for the patient from the initial enquiry through to completion of all necessary care. Or, if care is ongoing, the concierge stays in touch with patients on an ongoing basis.
The entry point to the program is a patient form on the Synapse Medical Services website
Simbani Research Managing Director and Senior Research Fellow, Marianne St Clair, added “we have been working in this area of research for over 20 years and pushing for telehealth adoption. This project is extremely exciting as it’s an opportunity to increase access to health services for remote people and communities, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are struggling to access adequate healthcare. Some of these initial patients have waited over a year to see a specialist or allied health professional. We thank the wide-ranging specialists and Nurse Practitioners already involved and are delighted to now promote this workflow as live and a wonderful work in progress!”
The trial has been successful and is improving all the time.
The stakeholders would love to hear from any patients, specialists, healthcare facilities, suppliers or networks that would like to know more, or, look to assist in this project. It is time now to develop this innovative service delivery model and allow more people to receive a wider range of health care without having to leave their community or property.
For enquiries please contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
Want more information?
Telehealth for the Bush for Medical Professionals
Telehealth for the Bush for Patients
Telehealth for the Bush for Aged Care sector
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