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On: April 28, 2020

Operating under COVID-19 restrictions has resulted in widespread adoption of telehealth assessments at MedHealth, reducing the need and duration of in-person meetings.

Until recently, telehealth assessments requiring a physical examination were delivered as two separate components. With the advent of COVID-19 restrictions, the need arose to find a way to deliver both components within the one telehealth assessment, via video conference and without the doctor in the room.

The need first came about in Tasmania in March 2020, when a series of five in-person independent medical assessments, each with a physical examination, were at risk of cancellation. Changes to flights prevented Neurosurgeon Dr Ashish Jonathan from flying into Tasmania to perform the assessments.

In partnership with Dr Jonathan and workplace rehabilitation provider IPAR, independent medical opinion provider mlcoa moved quickly to deliver an alternate method with the same robust outcome. This involved the consideration of technology requirements and the best method for completing the physical examination for each person. In liaison with the customers, Dr Jonathan and her team, mlcoa’s Jane Yarham triaged each case to ensure the best and safest assessment method was adopted.

With the approval of the customers, Dr Jonathan and the clients being assessed, Ms Yarham arranged for the medical assessments to proceed via secure video conferencing. The other critical component was arranging for the physical examinations. Ms Yarham enlisted allied health professional Ben Steicke, Customer Experience Manager and Exercise Physiologist, at IPAR, to undertake the physical examination in person, under the guidance of Dr Jonathan.

All five telehealth assessments were successfully completed as planned and all involved parties were impressed with the method of delivery and professionalism. Importantly, proceeding with assessments means that people with injuries and illness progress decisions about rehabilitation, return to work, or a claim.

The technology and allied health partnership utilised to undertake these physical telehealth assessments in Tasmania is now available across MedHealth, connecting people locally, regionally and internationally with medical advice anywhere, anytime.