AUSTRALIA – Medibank, one of Australia’s top private health insurers this year, has teamed up with Myhealth and Medinet to provide customers with access to online psychology consultations, according Insurance Business Mag.

According to the Australian Psychological Society’s research this year, wait times for psychologists have increased up to three months, with some people forced to wait for more than six months.

Moreover, one in three psychologists are now unable to see new clients, up from one in five in June 2021.

The partnership sees the launch of a telepsychology clinic pilot to reduce customers’ wait times from up to three months to only two weeks.

It will provide virtual consultations and an innovative digital and phone concierge service to manage all aspects of the referral, booking, and Medicare claims process, along with feedback to the referring general practitioner (GP).

This pilot aims to give people greater access, choice and control when it comes to mental health care.

Dr. Andrew Wilson, Medibank group executive, CEO health services said that people are waiting months to be able to get access to mental health support in their local area when they really need help now.

“We’re hoping to alleviate some of that pressure by giving access to more mental health professionals faster, provide GPs and their patients a greater choice of professionals with a broad range of specialties, and make it simpler and easier for people to manage the process,” he added.

The partnership sees the launch of a telepsychology clinic pilot to reduce customers’ wait times from up to three months to only two weeks.

Early this year, Medibank CEO David Koczkar said on the company blog that he expects more partnerships to develop to support capacity and strengthen Australia’s healthcare system by providing mental health support.

With the telepsych clinic, anyone over 18 years old may access online psychology consultations by visiting one of the Myhealth GP clinics in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane – participating in the pilot to get a referral, if deemed appropriate by the GP.

Patients may also see an accredited mental health social worker for specialist support.

Medibank and Medinet developed a concierge service to guide patients through the booking and Medicare claims process from beginning to end.

It will help patients choose a professional as they view the psychologists’ profiles and specialties. Patients may also use the concierge website and app to manage referrals, payments, and Medicare claims, as well as booking, cancelling, or rescheduling appointments.

Myhealth Medical Group deputy CEO Dr. Hadrian Lee commented: “While many people are more open in talking with their GP about seeing a mental health professional, this doesn’t [often] translate into them taking the action required to do so once they have a referral, which is why Medinet and Medibank have developed a concierge service that aims to support people through every step.”

After the trial, the pilot will be assessed on how it met the needs of patients, GPs, and mental health professionals. 

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