The Northern Queensland Primary Health Network and home physician service House Call Doctor have announced a partnership to bring Telehealth Doctor NQ to residents in Mareeba and Atherton in Far North Queensland.

By using a smartphone or a secure video link on their computer, patients will have the ability to connect with a registered doctor to help them with a range of conditions, in addition to providing prescriptions and medical certificates.

Patients will be able to ring up for a consultation, or book one online, and receive medical advice or have prescriptions and certificates sent to their mobile device.

An email and SMS is sent to the patient confirming the doctor has the booking and provides an estimated appointment time, and the platform uses data encryption and meets the country's healthcare security standards.

"Telehealth Doctor NQ will provide a great new service for residents in the Mareeba and Atherton region in the after-hours period in the comfort of their own home," said Telehealth Doctor NQ CEO Wayne Ormond in a statement. "Our doctors want to ensure all patients have access to quality healthcare, whenever they need it, and now they do."

In addition, the free service, which is funded by the NQPHN, will also update the patient's regular general practitioner with details of the consultation.

"The rapid response from Telehealth Doctor NQ to meet the needs of the Mareeba and Atherton communities for continuity of care means there will not be a service gap for after-hours medical services," NQPHN CEO John Gregg said in a statement. 

"They have proven experience providing quality and clinically safe healthcare services to Queenslanders in the after-hours period," he added.

The service became available to residents last week and is offered seven days a week in the after-hours period, which lasts from 6 p.m. until 8 a.m. on weeknights, and from noon Saturday until 8 a.m. Monday morning over the weekend.

"In non-urgent and non-life threatening cases, an after-hours telehealth service such as Telehealth Doctor NQ will be a timely and appropriate option for individuals and their families, easing the pressure on emergency departments so they can concentrate on caring for people with more serious conditions," said Gregg.

House Call Doctor's app, available on iOS and Android devices, was launched in April, allowing patients to enter their details and the symptoms they're experiencing, and a doctor's consultation will then be booked.

Another application launched in Australia earlier this year called Tonic makes it possible for people to have their prescriptions filled and their medication delivered to their door.

That app allows patients to scan a photograph of their script to a pharmacist as well as shop for other pharmacy items such as vitamins, hearing aid batteries and painkillers.





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