Rather than going to visit your medical centre in person, why not ask your doctor for the best online referral? This allows you to go to a specialist sooner, saving you the hassle of travelling to your GP by seeing them at home instead.
Medical support has been made much more convenient thanks to the flourishing of the World Wide Web in the early 2000s. We no longer have to travel to the doctor for every little problem – we can simply Google our concern and get answers straight away!
Here’s everything you need to know about getting an online referral to see a specialist.
What it is and what it does
This is a written request made by one health professional to another (or a health service), requesting them to treat or diagnose you for a certain condition. It gives them information about both you and your condition so that the specialist you are seeing doesn’t have to ask as many questions, knows relevant background details and knows what they need to do. An online referral is also useful for indicating that your consultation is clinically significant so that Medicare can cover at least some of the cost.
A request from a GP to a specialist must be used within 12 months. Requests from specialists to other specialists must be used within 3 months except in special circumstances. However, people with chronic conditions may be able to get an online referral which can be used indefinitely.
Reasons to get one
The main reason why your doctor may need to give you a request to see a specialist is if you require expertise, treatment or testing that your GP cannot provide. For example, a cancer patient may need to visit an oncologist, whereas someone with a foot condition may need to visit a podiatrist. An online referral is most commonly granted when a patient needs to get an x-ray or blood test done.
How to get one
Simply ask your doctor to write you one. You can do this via the internet using a video consultation with a medical professional if you don’t want to go in person. You can either choose the specific specialist that you want to see, or ask your GP to recommend one to you. The GP is also able to make a general request which doesn’t use the specialist’s name (e.g. “Dear psychologist”.)
Why do it via the internet
The main reason, of course, is convenience. With just a few clicks and about 20 minutes of your time, you can access health advice and online referrals wherever you are, Australia-wide!
You never know when or where a health problem will strike. You could be on holidays at the Gold Coast when you develop a flu, or your child could suffer from a stomach complaint at 2am. The great thing about digital health services is that you can access a qualified doctor anywhere and at any time rather than having to travel to an in-person clinic and wait.
Similarly, you aren’t left hanging wondering (and worrying) about a health problem with a digital consultation. If you have an odd bite mark on your arm, you can simply show your doctor via video chat and receive a diagnosis (usually) immediately. And of course, you can always get a second opinion with another digital GP, too.
Online referrals and consultations are often cheaper than their in-person counterparts. Some providers even offer subscriptions for $10-20 a month, making it very cost-effective compared to going to a medical centre.