Tiffany Sciasci

Exercise Physiologist, Healthy Connections

Accredited Exercise Physiologist - Sophie Pacek

Sophie Pacek

Exercise Physiologist, Healthy Connections

You’re 72 years old, have been recommended by the Australian government to stay at home and avoid physical contact with others, but also know the importance of keeping active and healthy despite not being able to go to the gym. You’ve tried one or two workouts at home but are unsure about whether you are doing the exercises correctly, and it’s not the same as having supervised sessions like you’re used to at Healthy Connections. Sound familiar? Telehealth may be the right option for you.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth refers to the use of telecommunication technology to access health care without the need to travel (Department of Health, 2015). In response to COVID-19, we are required to self-isolate which is why Telehealth has become more important than ever. Exercise Physiology services are essential for physical health and well-being, especially for those with chronic conditions who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 (Exercise & Sports Science Australia, 2020b). For us at Healthy Connections, Telehealth enables our Exercise Physiologists to deliver services such as consultations and exercise sessions through video-conferencing or over the phone. You can be taken through your individualised exercise program and monitored while you perform the exercises at home without any physical contact with another person. This can help to keep you motivated, track your progress and provide you with education to improve your health outcomes.

Who can access Telehealth?

Telehealth services can be accessed privately or bulk-billed with a referral from your GP under the Chronic Disease Management Plan (CDMP) or Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) Plan (ESSA, 2020a). To date, the Private Health Funds that have approved Exercise Physiology services via Telehealth are Australian Unity, BUPA, CBHS, CUA, Mildura District Hospital Fund, Teacher’s Health and TUH (ESSA, 2020a). Telehealth has also been approved for Exercise Physiology services through the National Disability Services Scheme (NDIS), Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)/My Aged Care, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs upon a GP referral for clinically necessary allied health treatment. Healthy Connections has been approved to provide the Exercise Right for Active Ageing (ERAA) program and the My Health for Life program via Telehealth as well. See the diagram below for more information about these services.

Private 1-on-1

Chronic Disease Management Plan (CDMP)

My Aged Care (MAC) / Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)

Enhanced Primary Care Plan (EPC)

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

My Health for Life (MH4L)

Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA)

How do I access Telehealth?

To access Telehealth, it is best to have a computer or mobile device with a camera, microphone and internet connection. The digital platform Healthy Connections is using to deliver exercise services is Physitrack. When you book a Telehealth appointment with us, you will be provided with instructions on how to set up your video-conferencing. It’s quick and easy!

  1. Book a Telehealth appointment.
  2. You will be emailed a secure link to access your consultation or exercise session.
  3. At the time of your appointment, click on the link and it will connect you face to face with one of our Healthy Connections Exercise Physiologists.

This sounds very technological.

Will I be able to set up Telehealth myself?

For more details on how to prepare for your Telehealth appointment, please click on this document (Physitrack, 2020) or contact Healthy Connections and our friendly staff will help get you started.

I don’t have a computer, mobile device or internet.

Can I still access Telehealth?

You certainly can! We can conduct consultations and/or exercise sessions over the phone.

I don’t have any exercise equipment at home, and very limited space.

Is Telehealth still suitable for me?

We can tailor the consultation or exercise session to suit your needs, goals and environment.

I’d like to talk to my doctor about requesting a Telehealth referral, but I do not want to leave my home.

Is there any other way of getting a referral?

Our advice would be to call your doctor to discuss further and whether a referral can be emailed or posted out to you.

If you have any questions about this blog and Telehealth, please contact Healthy Connections on 3624 2185 or comment in the section at the bottom of the blog.

As university-trained exercise physiologists, we use evidence from high-quality research studies to support our recommendations so many of these blogs will refer to research journal articles. If you would like to know more about this topic and the studies cited in the blog, please refer the the references below.