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COVID-19 changed the way many businesses operated as they adapted to a situation they hadn’t been confronted with before. For medical practices, this meant changes to their in-practice processes, as well as embracing new technologies.
Wellers Hill Medical Centre at Tarragindi in Queensland was one of those practices which had to adapt – fast. It is a family practice that has been in the area for 59 years and now has 16 doctors working across 15 consult rooms including a respiratory clinic. The practice offers a range of services with onsite access to specialist doctors, pathology services and allied health services such as psychology, podiatry, exercise physiology, dietetics and audiology.
With the onset of COVID-19, Wellers Hill underwent significant changes in order to meet the needs of their patients, ensure everyone’s safety and keep their business active. The way patients visited the practice was completely altered with certain areas of the building sectioned off. Processes, such as specific entry and exit points to the respiratory clinic from outside the building, were very efficient and worked to keep staff, patients and doctors safe. In addition, nursing staff at the front door screened every patient with appropriate questions and symptoms then directed them to certain parts of the practice. Social distancing Perspex screens were installed on the front counter, masks and gloves were provided and all rooms were cleaned after every patient.
Wellers Hill also needed to consider patients who may have felt safer doing their consults from home. Consults over telephone was something that Wellers Hill put in place early on, offering it to all their patients. The MOTO payments for these telehealth consults were processed using Tyro’s solution. Soon after, Medicare approved this service for a rebate to ensure patients could still have their needs met over the phone, and give the option for doctors to work remotely if need be.
The practice was able to manage mixed billing payments through combined solutions with Tyro. In doing so, the clinic could manage billing and in-clinic payments and over the phone payments easily. This gave both the clinic and patients alike peace of mind that although the service may be remote, there was a complete transaction of service and payment.
In addition, Wellers Hill uses one of Tyro’s Practice Management Software partners: Best Practice. When it came to in-clinic payments, the Tyro-Best Practice integration gave the clinic an easy way to take payments without additional time spent on dual entry and matching end of day reconciliation. The staff has received plenty of great feedback for offering telehealth – patients, particularly the elderly, have appreciated the ability to call in and speak to their doctor without having to arrange travel to and from the practice. The doctors also felt positively about the system in that it enabled them to manage their time more efficiently.
Wellers Hill hopes Medicare keeps this service in place going forward for the benefit of the practice and its patients. While all patients are welcome to have a telephone consultation, in some cases patients will need to visit in person, and the staff at Wellers Hill are confident that their patients can feel safe regardless of their preference.
We’d like to congratulate Wellers Hill Medical Centre for their resilience in keeping their business active and dedication to the safety of their patients.
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