Who can have online consultations?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth is being used widely for many medical appointments.
Contact your psychiatrist to ask if you can have your appointment via telehealth.
Sometimes a face-to-face consultation is needed, for example for a physical check-up or to prescribe some medications.
What do I need in order to have a telehealth appointment?
If you do a video consultation at a hospital or clinic, they will provide all the equipment for you.
If you do a videp consultation at home, it's best to have:
- a quiet, private room
- a fast and reliable internet connection
- a computer, tablet or smartphone (your psychiatrist will tell you which devices will work with their software).
As a guide, you will need internet speeds of at least 0.8 Mbps (megabits per second) for downloads and 0.25 Mbps for uploads. Faster speeds will give you better quality video. You can test your internet speed here.
If you use a computer, it must have a microphone and a webcam. Most newer computers will have these built in.
Your psychiatrist will give you instructions about how to download the video conference software. You won't need to buy any software.
How do I arrange a telehealth consultation?
Usually, you will need a referral from a GP to see a psychiatrist either in person or via telehealth.
The RANZCP’s Find a Psychiatrist directory lists Australian and New Zealand psychiatrists with a private practice who offer telehealth.
To use the search, check the Only psychiatrists who offer telehealth (any location) box.
How much does telehealth cost?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Australian Government has made some changes to Medicare rebates for telehealth.
All Australian Medicare card holders can access Medicare rebates for telehealth or telephone consultations with a psychiatrist. Contact your psychiatrist to find out how much your appointment will cost.
If you live in a regional, rural, or remote area, or an aged care facility, or are under the care of a Aboriginal health service and were already receiving telehealth consultations, your psychiatrist will continue to see you under your current arrangement.
Read more about the cost of seeing a psychiatrist in Australia
Changes to telehealth arrangements in New Zealand due to COVID-19 mean that you can have many medical appointments by telehealth, including psychiatry services.
Health Navigator NZ provides detailed information on how to access telehealth services in New Zealand.
Tips for successful consultations