How you can speak to a real doctor, right now
IMAGINE if you could see a real doctor, right now using just your phone?
A new app has launched allowing people to organise appointments within minutes to see a qualified, practising GP in Australia.
Patients can log in, request an appointment and minutes later be on a video call with a doctor.
For residents in regional towns like Kingaroy - where a GP appointment can be almost impossible to book - it's proving an invaluable service for patients in need of new scripts, medical certificates or general advice on minor health issues.
The app, called Instant Consult, was the brain child of Travis and Bianca Brown and is already being used by hundreds of Australians in remote and regional areas.
Across Queensland telehealth services have almost quadrupled since 2013 and Queensland Health already has video conferencing systems available in more than 200 hospitals and facilities.
Travis and Bianca Brown hope Instant Consult will not only improve access to basic health services for regional communities, but reduce the increasing burden on emergency departments.
"Emergency departments are treating non-life threatening symptoms such as gastro, headaches and fever - that can instead be assessed by a GP," Ms Brown said.
"Instant Consult can enable Aussies to receive a medical diagnosis in their own home, reducing the strain on our emergency rooms."
Rohan Lal is one of the GPs available for appointments via Instant Consult. Dr Lal is based in Sydney and has experience delivering healthcare to patients within the New South Wales prison system.
He says Instant Consult offers a valuable way for people to access medical services to assess the severity of their condition - and be directed to further help if needed.
Patients can expect to pay $35 for a brief consultation and at least $65 for appointments lasting more than 20 minutes.
But you will need to cough up the full amount as video consultations are not covered by Medicare.
'I wish this service existed when I was a mum with young kids'
IRENE Philp has said goodbye to doctor's surgery waiting rooms.
The relatively health 58-year-old Kingaroy resident now uses the Instant Consult app for her basic GP needs including prescriptions for her regular medications and any other minor health issues.
She's lived in the South Burnett for more than 20 years and in Kingaroy for about 10 years - yet has never been able to secure a GP appointment in town.
Ms Philp, who raised three boys, said accessing health services like a GP had always been a challenge for her family.
"We've always lived rurally and the limited access to GPs has been similar in other towns," she said.
"When we first moved to Kingaroy, I just couldn't get in to see a local doctor, so would need to go to Nanango which pretty much takes up half of your day when you factor in travel time and waiting for you appointment.
"A friend told me about Instant Consult and I couldn't be happier with it.
"It's instant and completely hassle free.
"I've been more than happy with the price, very happy with the service and even happier there is no waiting time.
"And the doctor is always pleasant and thorough.
"As a mum, I wish the service had been around when my children were younger, especially when you have more than one at home and life is not always at a slow pace.
"It would have absolutely been an advantage for those times when you just weren't sure but didn't really feel the need to go to the hospital emergency department."
Ms Philp said less technologically able people should not be concerned about using the app which "is easy to use and navigate".