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What you need to know about Telehealth and hepatitis B

What you need to know about Telehealth and hepatitis B

Home All about hepatitis B Telehealth and hepatitis B
What you need to know about Telehealth and hepatitis B

What is a Telehealth appointment?

A Telehealth appointment is an appointment you can have with your doctor on a phone or on a screen (smartphone, laptop, computer or tablet). 

Why should I use Telehealth?

There are many reasons to choose Telehealth, these include: 

Am I eligible for a Telehealth appointment?

All Medicare card holders in Australia are eligible. Telehealth can be used for appointments with a doctor, nurses, liver specialists, pathology requests, prescriptions and mental health services.

People in COVID-19 isolation or quarantine can see any health provider using Telehealth. Most people must see a health provider face-to-face once before they can use Telehealth. If you have hepatitis B, you can see use Telehealth without having a face-to-face appointment first.

Liver specialists and other health care providers don’t have to bulk bill Telehealth, so you may need to pay and claim a Medicare rebate.

How do I book a Telehealth appointment?

When you make your appointment, ask to use Telehealth. Some doctors make appointments over the phone and some use video calls. If you can’t do a video call, ask for a phone appointment. They will call you at the appointment time.

If you are having a video call, the link will be sent to you. You click on the link on your phone, tablet, laptop, or computer. No need to sign in or download an app.

Security and privacy

Telehealth is very secure, safe and private. They use industry-standard encryption and security protocols to protect your privacy.

You or the doctor should not record Telehealth sessions without everyone’s consent. The doctor will take notes for your medical record, just like a face-to-face appointment.

The appointment should be private and comfortable. Let your doctor know if you  want to have other people with you for the appointment. If another person (e.g. a nurse), is joining, the doctor will ask your permission.

Services for patients

You can get support for your Telehealth appointment. For example, an Interpreter or an Aboriginal Liaison Officer can join your call if you need them.

What to expect from a Telehealth appointment for hepatitis B 

In your first Telehealth appointment, you will be asked about your health, any risk factors for viral hepatitis and if you have any signs or symptoms. If you need a blood test, your doctor will fill out a pathology request form.

Pathology and diagnostic imaging tests can be ordered via video, phone, or in-person consultations. The request forms can be emailed, mailed, or picked up in person. Some centres do pathology testing on-site, which means the clinic staff will text or email you details so you can make the appointment.

If your blood test results show that you have liver disease or a high viral load, your doctor may refer you to a liver specialist. Your doctor will write you a referral, which you can give or send to the liver specialist. You can contact the liver specialist through Telehealth, or in person, to make an appointment. Not everyone with hep B needs treatment, but if you do, your doctor will write a prescription. Any repeat prescriptions can be filled through Telehealth. It is important that you take your medication daily, so get a repeat prescription before you run out.

If you need a prescription, it will be delivered to a chemist near you, where you can pick it up or have it mailed to you. Prescriptions can also be sent to you via email or text message, with E-prescriptions using a QR code texted to your phone. Just show the QR code to the chemist and they will scan it to find your prescription and fill it.

If you have hep B and show no signs of liver disease or other health problems, your doctor will suggest you have 6-monthly check-ups with a blood test and a FibroScan.

During the COVID19 pandemic, all doctors, liver specialists, nurses, and medical personnel are doing everything possible to keep clinics as safe as possible. Before any in-person appointment, we recommend that you contact your doctor or liver specialist to see if there are any additional precautions you should take.

I am not sure I have received a quality service via Telehealth. What can I do about this?

If you have not received a satisfactory health service, you can: 

Further information for patients 

If you are seeking further information on how to access Telehealth and prescriptions from home, please see the following guides: 

To talk about anything related to Telehealth and Hep B in NSW phone the Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 803 990 or go to www.hep.org.au to use our Live Chat or email service.

This information was developed by Hepatitis NSW. It was reviewed by the Hepatitis NSW Medical and Research Advisory Panel.

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