A new service that puts Australians in touch with a doctor via phone or video at any hour of the day is now available nationwide.
ReadyCare is owned by Telstra and can be used to get advice, treatment, diagnosis and prescriptions from registered Australian doctors and each consultation costs $69 plus GST.
Before speaking with a doctor patients will speak with an assistant to determine whether the case is suitable for a phone/video consultation.
Telstra has built the service around a model used in Switzerland.
The company’s head of Consumer and Tele-Health Services Wayne Liubinskas told The Australian, “The current consumer experience is that you have to go see a doctor at a time that works for them as opposed to what works for you as a consumer”.
He says consumers will soon realise that they don’t have to plan ahead for appointments or endure lengthy waits in doctors’ offices.
“Consumers are being quite sleepy when it comes to convenience in healthcare. We believe they’ll start to wake up and become more aware of their options”.
Telstra has employed a small number of doctors, nurses and receptionists but Mr Liubinskas said the service would eventually include GPs who were practising elsewhere and wanted to supplement their income with extra consultations.
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Healthcare is a new frontier for the telecoms company, which has invested more than $130 million into health ventures to date. Its first product, MyCare Manager uses real-time monitoring of health devices and video conferencing to treat long-term health conditions.
It recently acquired Medibank Private’s Anywhere Healthcare network, which provides virtual access to specialists via referral.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is keeping an eye on the service but says, so long as it works with patients’ GPs and provides continuity of care, it could be a successful partnership.
Find out more about the ReadyCare service here.
What do you think of this new service? Would you use it?