Western Australians will be able to see a doctor within 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the launch of a new Perth-founded telehealth service, Hola Health.
Taking the strain off medical centres, patients will no longer need to wait for an in-person general consultation, specialist referral, new or repeat prescription or a medical certificate with the locally based start up providing Australia's first 24/7 telehealth service with Australian qualified health practitioners.
Hola Health said it promises doctors will provide video consults via mobile phones, tablets or computers within 15 minutes of making an appointment.
Hola Health co-founder and chief Dr Vishnu Gopalan, said the service was launching its 24/7 feature in time for the festive season, when people often struggled to get medical appointments.
"Any time of the day or night, our doctors will be available to provide expert medical advice to patients from the comfort of their own home," Dr Gopalan said.
Jim Codde, who used the service from Bridgetown in WA, said that the service was a fast and reliable way to see a GP
"At the moment it can take several days to get into a GP, and considering the symptoms I had, I wanted to avoid going into their offices where I could make other people sick," Mr Codde said.
"I think the service is brilliant and felt very comfortable with the experience I had."
The telehealth consultations cost $35 and requests for medical certificates are $9.90, which is not covered by Medicare.
Users are sent a secure link connecting them to a video call with a practitioner.
Dr Gopalan said Hola Health aimed to provide innovative and affordable healthcare services.
The service has also partnered with Doordash and other pharmacy partners to deliver prescription medication.
"Connecting patients, practitioners, and pharmacies to provide more timely and convenient access to care is our primary purpose."
Dr Richard Marston, a consulting GP at Hola Health, said the pandemic had prompted people to reassess how they received healthcare.
"There will always be a place and a need for face-to-face medical consultations, however, there are many conditions and situations that can be assessed and assisted very easily through telehealth services while maintain the highest levels of patient care," Dr Marston said.
"For example, a patient may have realised they have run out of their medication, which they need urgently; many common ailments can be treated quickly by talking through symptoms, such as urinary tract infections; and referrals for radiology and other specialists can be discussed via telehealth."
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