Online sessions during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Blake Psychology Telehealth Information
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dr Blake will offer phone and video appointments, along with face-to-face appointments at the Hills Medical.
The Australian Government has recently widened eligibility for online (‘telehealth’) appointments with psychologists. Most funding bodies (e.g., Medicare, WorkSafe, TAC, NDIS, DVA) will now allow phone or video sessions with psychologists (and GP’s) during the COVID-19 Pandemic. For example, patients with a Mental Health Care Plan can still have sessions with Matt over the phone or using video conferencing, rather than coming into the Hills Medical for a face-to-face appointment, and will still be eligible for a Medicare rebate ($126.50).
Video sessions using 'Coviu'
Matt is using a video conferencing platform called ‘Coviu’. It was chosen because it is designed specifically for health professionals and patients. It integrates with existing practice management software and has many helpful features, including screen, whiteboard, and file sharing. Importantly, Coviu is compliant with the Australian standards for online security and encryption (i.e., all data is private). In other words, Coviu is a safe and secure environment. Audio and visual data is not saved anywhere and is encrypted so nobody can listen in.
However, if you feel uncomfortable about using Coviu or if you have problems with software or hardware and would prefer to speak on the phone, Matt would be more than willing to do that instead.
Coviu is relatively simple to use. You will just need a desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet, or phone. Coviu is Internet browser-based, so you will not need to install a special application. You can use Coviu in several ways.
Desktop or laptop computer
Coviu works best with the Internet browser ‘Google Chrome’ on desktop and laptop computers. It also works with ‘Firefox’. However, it does not work with ‘Safari’ or ‘Internet Explorer’ on computers (it does work with Safari on iPads and iPhones, please see below for more). You can download the latest version of Google Chrome at the following web address:
Tablets and Smart Phones
Android tablets and smartphones (i.e., non-Apple devices)
As with desktop and laptop computers, Coviu works best using Google Chrome or Firefox web browsers on Android tablets and smartphones.
iPad or iPhone
Coviu works best on the Internet Browser Safari for iPads and iPhones (this is different than for computers and non-Apple handheld devices, where Safari does not work). If you are planning on using an iPad or iPhone for your online session, please make sure it is updated and running a version of the Internet browser ‘Safari’ that is 12 or above (i.e., Safari 12+).
You can update Safari on your iPad or iPhone by updating your operating software. Just open the ‘Settings’ app on your device, tap ‘General’ then ‘Software Update’ and follow the instructions.
Joining the online sessions
There is no need for you to sign up with Coviu. Dr Blake has signed up and will send you an email just prior to the online session with a link to join the session. The email will have a big red button that says click here to 'join the call'.
Just click on this link and Coviu will open in a Web browser. Again, please make sure you are using Google Chrome or Firefox (or Safari 12+ if using an iPad or iPhone). You can then identify yourself and wait in a waiting room for me to join you.
You will be taken to a page that says ‘Dr Matthew Blake’s’ room. Join this room as a guest. You will be directed to take a photo of yourself and provide some personal information. This is just to inform me about who is in the waiting room - Coviu does not store this information and it is not reused anywhere else.
If you would prefer not to take a picture of yourself, just lean out of the camera angle and snap. Enter your name and click ‘Continue’.
Testing your hardware and software setup
Below is a link to a short video to help you set up. If you have any problems, please call Matt on 0427 192 888.
Please make sure you have sufficient bandwidth (i.e., internet speed) at your location. It should be a minimum of about 300Kbps (or 0.3 Mbps). You can test your bandwidth at:
Also, please make sure your microphone is on and your camera is working.
You can test your overall hardware and software setup at:
This test will check the various network and device settings that are used in making a Coviu call. This includes:
Checking your local device setup, such as your camera, microphone, browser and speakers
Testing connectivity to all our call servers
Collecting statistics relating to your network connectivity and quality
At the conclusion of the tests, the results will be analysed and you will be presented with recommendations and advice for troubleshooting any potential issues.
In the event of any difficulty with the connection, please have your mobile phone nearby so I can contact you.
Making the most of online sessions
Your video consultation experience will be best if:
We normalise some awkwardness at the start. Online sessions are different from face-to-face sessions but the awkwardness usually fades after a while!
Ensure you have a private, quiet, dedicated place for our session. Try to minimise movement (e.g., walking around) if you can
Make sure that you have all that you need at your fingertips, for example, notes, books, pad, pen and a drink
Remove distractions; ensure that the TV, radio, or other computer applications are turned off
Have had a few minutes to prepare yourself before the session so that you are relaxed and focused