Remote, regional and international assessments | Nexus

eReports are a leader in the use of Telehealth in the medical advisory space, helping to solve the challenges of mental health claims across regional, rural and remote Australia and across the globe.

Mental illness has become a significant worldwide health issue in recent years according to the World Health Organization1 with health data showing that most people with mental illness remain either untreated or poorly treated2.

In a News.com.au article, ‘Growing mental health issues spark surge in insurance costs and claims’3 published in March 2017, it notes that roughly one million Australians suffer depression and two million suffer anxiety and despite two decades of investment in improving mental health services, the mental health of Australians has not improved.4

Rural Challenges

According to the ‘Mental Health in Rural and Remote Australia’5 fact sheet (March 2017), people in regional, rural and remote locations in Australia have a significant disadvantage with all levels of mental health assessment and service. The reported prevalence of mental illness in rural and remote Australia appears similar to that of major cities, however access to mental health services are substantially more limited than in major cities.

While the prevalence of people experiencing mental illness is similar across the nation-  around 20 per cent, the rates of self-harm and suicide increase with remoteness. This  highlights the significant unique mental health issues that need to be addressed in rural and remote areas.

Medical and mental health services are often inadequate in remote geographical areas which often have only a few specialist providers- this compounds the challenges.

As a result, there has been considerable work over the past 5 years to develop Telehealth services so as to implement these objectives. The Australian Government has supported the initiative to increase the use of Telehealth for rural and remote Australia, and has expanded this to also include Aboriginal Medical Services and Aged Care Services, regardless of location.

On 1 July, 2011, Medicare and DVA rebates and financial incentives were made available for Telehealth psychiatric consultations7, and in the 12 months to March 2017, Medicare processed over 43,000 telehealth psychiatric consultations, establishing Telehealth as a medical tool that is well accepted by both psychiatrists and members of the public.

Studies have now been completed which demonstrate psychiatric interviews conducted over videoconferencing are reliable for diagnostic assessment and treatment recommendations, and are as effective as face-to-face consultations in achieving improved health outcomes. They have also been deemed a dependable mode of service delivery in routine new referrals8.

So what is telehealth?

In the article ‘One in Four Lives: The Future of Telehealth in Australia’9Telehealth is described as “the remote management and delivery of health with the potential to improve efficiencies, reduce hospitalisation and improve how healthcare services are delivered.”

This paper notes:

  • The models of care in the Australian Health System are unsustainable in their current form
  • Telehealth for remote management of healthcare can relieve demand on the system
  • Telehealth could be marshalled to play a major role in enabling changes to the service models and delivery required to respond to the growing demand for healthcare in Australia

Today, Telehealth can include everything from telephone consultations and live video feeds, digital CT scans and remote monitoring of intensive-care units. Behavioural health, dermatology, radiology, infectious disease and stroke are commonly covered service lines, and primary-care services are becoming a major focus, since they usually involve quicker diagnoses.

The huge growth expected in the telehealth market is mainly due to the potential of telehealth to revolutionize healthcare delivery as we know it. Video consultations makes it possible to instantly deliver healthcare at any time to and from anywhere in the world.

In Australia, video consultations plays an important role in Telehealth initiatives because it provides a cost-effective means of delivering medical and mental health services that are often inadequate in remote geographical areas. Importantly, it reduces the need for mental health patients to travel great distances to get the treatment, support and advice they need.

Because of the increased acceptance and utilisation of telehealth within Australia, the RANZCP has developed ‘Professional Practice Standards and Guides for Telepsychiatry’10.

These standards include considerations around informed consent, collaboration, ethical principles, confidentiality and privacy of health information, and safety and quality.

Introducing eReports NeXus

eReports is proud to play a leading role in the delivery of Psychiatric Telehealth medico-legal assessments. We’ve conducted over 3000 Telehealth assessments over the past 2 years, and with over 50 medical assessment centres nationally, eReports is well placed to provide a better way to manage regional, rural and remote claims.

How is the consultation conducted?

eReports Nexus harnesses the power of secure video consulting to conduct expert medical advisory services across Australia and across the globe. Using the very latest secure and encrypted technology, we connect members regardless of where they live, to the right expert medical consultant. 

We’ve taken care of all the important details to ensure the assessment is as stress-free as possible. When examinees arrive at their Nexus Telehealth assessment they’ll be greeted by a medical receptionist who will welcome them, ask them to complete a consent form, check their identification, and answer any questions they may have about the assessment process.

The receptionist will then contact the assessing Psychiatrist, initiate the video-conference, and manage any technical difficulties before the assessment starts. The person requiring an assessment will then be escorted into the medical consulting room and introduced to the medical consultant who’ll be attending via video link. 

Get an appointment sooner: There’s no need to wait months to complete an assessment. eReports Nexus provides ample appointments with short lead times, enabling you to resolve your claim sooner.

More choices, more specialties:  The examinee or claimant will always see the right specialist, thanks to our broad network of highly-trained medical assessors. Case Managers can scan assessors’ CVs and sub-specialisations on the eReports web portal and select the assessor that’s right for their client.

eReports Nexus enables you to:

  • Reduce Costs: Less client travel and faster turn-around times enables you to reduce your claim management costs. And a clear, transparent, national pricing structure means you can easily forecast and budget.
  • Receive reports faster: On average, Nexus delivers reports within 5 days of the Independent Medical Examination.
  • Support those that have experienced high levels of physical or mental trauma – no need to travel and leave their support networks.
  • Speak to the medical expert: You can talk to a consultant before or after the assessment, keeping communication open and clear.
  • Improved member experience: Conduct highly professional and efficient assessments in locations convenient to your client.
  • Reduce non-attendance: The convenience of local assessment centres reduces the frequency and costs associated with non-attendance. Your client will receive SMSs, Google Maps and a checklist to prepare for their virtual interview.
  • Track and trace each step: Match your client’s availability with our list of online, available appointments. Instantly track progress of the report online once an assessment is completed
  • Quality standards: Our service fully complies with the standards set by the The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Many eReports clients have already established eReports NeXus as their solution to managing their regional, rural, remote and international claims.
If you’d like more information, please give our Business Relationship Team a call on 1300 130 963 or email Nexus@eReports.com.au