Psychiatry FAQs- Central Eastern Sydney PHN

Dokotela offers telehealth appointments with Psychiatrists and have been funded to provide services to some clients at no cost to the client (those living within Central Eastern Sydney primary health network and South West Sydney primary health network). [LINKS]

You see our specialists by a secure video conferencing platform. Some face to face appointments are also available in certain areas.

Dokotela also offers appointments with Geriatricians and Psychologists (fees applicable).

Psychiatrists are doctors that specialise in mental health. They make a thorough assessment based on taking a comprehensive history from you regarding the symptoms you have been experiencing. They will then recommend suitable treatment. Mental illness can be treated and many people recover well or even completely.

Your first appointment with a psychiatrist will usually be approximately 1 hour. During this appointment your psychiatrist will:

  • ask you about your concerns and symptoms
  • ask questions about your general health
  • ask about your family history and patters of behaviour
  • may ask you to fill out a questionnaire or gather some other information.

The long appointment gives the psychiatrist time to ask all required questions, listen to you and understand each aspect of your situation. They might also want to speak with other health professionals or members of your family. Your psychiatrist may order some more tests to help them understand what is going on.

It might take one or more appointments for your psychiatrist to make a diagnosis. The next step is to work out a treatment plan. A treatment plan is a combination of therapies that suit your health, preferences, family situation and age. Usually (but not always) the treatment plan will include some medication, psychological therapies and lifestyle changes. You and your psychiatrist will work together to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Appointment lengths vary depending on the specialist you are seeing, but the below gives you an indication:

Psychiatrist: Initial Appointment

60 minutes

Psychiatrist: Subsequent Appointment

30-60 minutes

Telehealth is a virtual consultation that is completed over a video platform such as Zoom or Coviu. Appointments are performed from either a GP clinic or from the patients home.  It is not a phone call, the Specialist must be able to both see and hear you for a consultation.

Psychiatry appointments require a referral from your GP to one of our specialists. Your GP or other clinician will also need to fill in a form online so that you are eligible for this service (at no cost).

If you have received an SMS inviting you to book an appointment, this has already been completed.

For some people and in some situations, telehealth (seeing someone by video or telephone), can be just as effective or more effective than in-person care. The benefits of telehealth is access to a specialist for your healthcare needs anywhere, anytime, without having to travel long distances.

Everyone has individual preferences. Some people prefer telehealth because it is more convenient and they feel they find it less intimidating than going to a doctors office. Other people prefer to sit in the same room as the person they are talking to. The best way to know is to try it out!

You can have your appointment from your home or your clinicians office.

 

Your clinician may be a nurse, psychologist, GP peer support worker or any other professional helping you with your mental health. Please contact them to discuss when they are available to attend your appointment with you.

 

Either way you will need a device with a camera and microphone and a good internet connection.

 

If you don’t have the equipment you need for the appointment or are not confident to join the video conference yourself you have two options.

 

  1. You can do the appointment with a friend or family member who has a device and internet connection you can use, if you are comfortable with this option.

 

  1. We can arrange for the appointment to be facilitated from your referring clinician office, so that they can help you connect to your appointment. If you would like to take this option and need some help organising this, please call our practice on 02 8003 7668.

If your referring clinician is able to facilitate your telehealth appointment then yes absolutely.  

 

Please contact your clinician to check when their office is available for you to have your appointment. If you need assistance, please call our practice on 02 8003 7668 so we can help you book this in.

There is no fee associated with all Dokotela appointments.  This appointment is funded by the primary health network in the region you live and Medicare.

 

Dokotela will submit the claim to Medicare on your behalf.

Generally wait times for an appointment are 2-6 weeks. If you are flexible with the times you are available, we can get you seen quickly. We can also place you on a cancellation list for an earlier appointment (please send us an email [email protected] requesting you are added to the waitlist after booking your appointment)

Please note that we are not an emergency service. If you do require urgent care, please see your general practitioner, or go to the emergency department at your local hospital.



Once you have completed your online booking, you will receive a confirmation SMS to your mobile number (please allow 5-10 minutes). This will contain all information including day and time of your appointment, the specialist you will be seeing, and instructions for the appointment (whether it is over video call or in person). You will also receive an SMS reminder a few days before your appointment.

You will receive an SMS reminder 5 days prior to your appointment, please reply “Yes” if you are able to attend or call us if you are unable to attend and we can re-book for another day.

Download our instructions HERE (link)

We recommend you bring a support person – this is a family member or friend, anyone you feel comfortable with or trust.

Please bring any mediation you are currently taking and if you have been to hospital lately any discharge summaries that you have available.

A support person can be either a professional assisting you with your mental health or a family member/friend/carer you feel comfortable with and trust.

 

There are a number of benefits for both the client and the Specialist:

  1. Gives you confidence that you have someone who can help you communicate all of the relevant information
  2. There is a great deal of information provided during the appointment and it can be difficult to remember it all
  3. Having someone that knows you well can provide additional information for the Specialist and can be helpful for the Specialists diagnosis and treatment recommendations
  4. This person can support you on your journey to recovery after the appointment

You are able to change or cancel your appointment anytime up until 48 hours before your appointment at no cost by calling 02 8003 7668.

 

Our cancelation policy requires at least 48 hours notice if you would like to cancel or change your appointment. These appointments are difficult to fill without you providing enough notice, so if you do not provide enough notice you will not be able to access the service again.

 

Please call (02)8003 7668 and one of our friendly clinic staff will assist you to troubleshoot.

A live chat option is also available from our website if you are having technical difficulties and a team member will be on hand to give you a call to assist.

Most patients require at least two appointments – one to establish a diagnosis and put in place a treatment plan and a second appointment to review your progress and ensure you are happy with your progress. However, other patients may require multiple appointments. Your specialist will discuss this with you at the end of the appointment and answer any other questions you may have.

Once your Psychiatrist has established a diagnosis and treatment plan, they will send this to your GP. Please ensure you book an appointment to see your GP. Your GP may also write any prescriptions you require.

If you have any concerns regarding your medications, please see your GP. They will be able to advise you of how to manage these side effects and can contact your Psychiatrist directly if required.

If you have any concerns regarding your medications, please see your GP. They will be able to advise you of how to manage these side effects and can contact your Psychiatrist directly if required.

You should speak with your specialist at the time of your appointment. Generally, they will recommend your GP write the prescription including repeats.

If your specialist is writing the script, it is your responsibility to ensure a follow up appointment is booked with plenty of time before your medication runs out. Our specialists are booked in advance so we may be unable to facilitate an urgent appointment if you have run out of your medication.

Most of our specialists only provide treatment and do not fill in other documents or reports. If you do require some other documentation or report, please contact our staff on 02 8003 7668 to discuss your requirements and the cost associated.

This includes any legal documentation, workers compensation documentation, driving assessments and firearms assessments.

Dokotela’s aim is to make telehealth hassle-free. We take care of all the administration so that you can focus on providing high-quality care to your patients.

This includes:

  • Setting up a secure telehealth virtual room
  • Onboarding/marketing to GPs Bookings and calendar management
  • Reception service (rebooking, sending treatment plans/correspondence to GPs etc)
  • Billing

 

We hold your hand through the whole process so you can just focus on providing high-quality clinical care.

We currently provide over 1,000 consultations per month. We are a group of 35 Specialists- most are part-time a few work full-time.

Collaborative Care Model

Dokotela is different from most telehealth platforms because of the model that we always work collaboratively with GP’s in managing their patients.

Practically, we do this by always trying to arrange appointments at the GP medical practice and requesting every patient to have time discussing the treatment plan with the Specialist, GP, and carers. We also request the GP to write the prescriptions to engage the GP more closely in the treatment of their patient.

We provide educational input, diagnostic clarification, suggestions regarding medication and possible side-effects and recommend appropriate e-health psychological services. We also ask about local psychosocial services with which the patient can engage.

  1. We work as a team, we often refer patients for 2nd opinions within our team of Specialists
  2. We manage complaints on your behalf by having an assigned complaints officer who will contact the patient and ask how best to resolve the dissatisfaction, often by offering a 2nd opinion. Most complaints relate to miscommunications that can usually be easily resolved
  3. We have a Dokotela Whatsapp group for our Specialists to communicate their questions and concerns. We are all very supportive and offer advice and assistance to this group

Payment for services will be received by Dokotela so we can confirm all your appointments have been paid and there are no outstanding debtors. Each Monday you will receive a statement of payment and funds will be deposited into your account for the week prior.

Please ensure you provide MBS items immediately following each appointment to avoid payments being delayed. When you start with Dokotela you will be required to complete a Medicare form for payment details, this should be sent to us at least 10 business days before you start consulting to avoid your first payment being delayed. The principal cost in telehealth is patient non-attendance.

Dokotela operations staff work very hard to keep this to a minimum, we are constantly refining our processes. If 50% of your patients don’t attend then effectively the Specialist is paying a 50% fee! We make sure that doesn’t’ happen to our Specialsits. The quality of our operations team saves you a large amount of time and money.

There is an out-of-pocket fee associated with all Dokotela appointments. Patients will be required to pay the appointment fee and we will then process the Medicare rebate on their behalf.

 If a patient requests a service separate from their treatment (reports, letters, forms etc.) it is at your discretion what you would like to charge the patient (we can let you know what other Specialists charge if helpful).

If a patient wants to have a consult from home for a particular reason we will ensure the patient is appropriate for a home appointment.

If you see a patient who is inappropriate for management via video conference you can speak to the GP and tell him/her that this is the case – this is your clinical decision.

You can discuss concerns with other Specialists on the WhatsApp group at any time (or call our Medical Director).

  • You can specify what types of work you will/won’t do
  • All practitioners are required to consult with Dokotela a minimum of 4 hours per week. This is to cover the cost of the subscriptions required to be on the platform.
  • You can work within your scope of practice, although by its nature telehealth tends to stretch the clinical problems that you will encounter.
  • For example, if you are not comfortable prescribing Psychostimulants we will make a note of this and not send you these patients

Dokotela is an Australian owned and operated company making specialist care more accessible by connecting patients across Australia with specialist doctors and clinicians through a secure video-conferencing platform. Dokotela has Psychiatrists (Adult, Child and Adolescent), Geriatricians, Psychologists and Dieticians available.

Telehealth is a virtual consultation that is completed over a video platform such as Zoom. Appointments are performed from the referring doctor/GP clinic.  It is not a phone call, the Specialist must be able to both see and hear you for a consultation.

There is an out-of-pocket fee associated with all Dokotela appointments. You will be

required to pay the appointment fee and we will then process the Medicare rebate on your behalf.

Please contact our team on (02) 8003 7668 to enquire regarding the out of pocket costs.

At Dokotela, we encourage collaborative care with a referring GP. This is integral to ensure that GPs are aware of patients needs and medications and are able to assist the patient with follow up questions or concerns. It is also important to be located at a general practitioner clinic as it is a safe space for a psychiatry consultation to take place, and GPs are present should any issues arise.

General waiting times for an appointment is 2-6 weeks, subject to your availability. If you are flexible with the times you are available, we can get you seen quickly. We can also place patients on a cancellation list if you would like an earlier appointment. Please note while we endeavour to accommodate urgent appointments, we are not an emergency service.

If you do require urgent care, please see your general practitioner or go to the emergency department at your local hospital.

Your general practitioner clinic can book an appointment on your behalf, provided you have communicated your availability, alternatively you can call Dokotela. You must have a valid referral that has already been sent to Dokotela to book an appointment. 

We require:

  • A valid referral
  • Medicare card
  • Debit or credit card to secure your appointment
  • Up to date contact information

We require a debit or credit card to secure your appointment. Our cancelation policy requires 48 hours notice if you would like to cancel or change your appointment. These appointments are difficult to fill without you providing enough notice, so there is a fee of $110 if you do not give us 48 hours notice of a change/cancellation or you fail to show up for your appointment.

Patient’s must speak with their specialist at the time of appointment, generally the specialist will recommend that your GP write a script including repeats. If your specialist is writing the script , it is the patient’s responsibility to ensure they book a follow up appointment before their medication runs outs. We cannot facilitate urgent appointments for patients if their script has run out.

Dokotela must be able to contact you to confirm an appointment. If we need further information we will call you and leave a voicemail or send a text. If we do not need additional information from you, we will ask you to confirm by replying to our SMS reminders.

Some of our specialists are happy to provide reports however there are associated costs for a report to be performed. Here are the reports that some of our doctors can perform:

  • Driver’s license
  • Firearms license
  • Court/legal documents
  • Workers Compensation

Please notify our friendly team if you wish to a specialist who can provide these reports. We will speak with a specialist and inform you of the cost of the report.

Send us a referral