As part of its response to COVID-19, WorkSafe is introducing temporary measures to support the continuation of essential health services for injured workers. In doing so telehealth availability was quickly expanded.
The continuation of telehealth ensures the needs of injured workers are met with the highest standards. It enables flexibility for continuation of services in response to any future restrictions associated with the pandemic. It also provides a framework for person centered care according to the individual circumstances of each worker.
It is expected that telehealth services are provided when clinically appropriate, and should not replace face-to-face consultations unless it is the preference of the injured worker. Where physical examination is required face to face is the preferred method of consultation.
Where telehealth is utilized the injured worker must be confident and capable to access and successfully use the technology, including the IT platform.
Telehealth attendance means audio and visual or audio only conference by the IME with the injured worker.
The WorkSafe IME Service Standards have been updated to reflect that a telehealth attendance for IME examinations will only occur where the IME:
has the capacity to provide the full service through this means safely and in accordance with professional standards; and
is satisfied that it is clinically appropriate to provide the service to the patient; and
maintains a visual and audio link with the patient; and
is satisfied that the software and hardware used to deliver the service meets the applicable laws for security and privacy
where a medical examination is conducted by telehealth attendance the IME report must:
report that the IME medical examination was conducted via telehealth attendance;
specify if the telehealth attendance was audio and visual or audio only; and
state what software was used to conduct the medical examination by telehealth attendance
These item codes must be used if an IME examination has been conducted via telehealth (either video or telephone).