“Use Skype advisedly”: practices urged to use standards-based telehealth platforms

Telehealth experts are recommending that healthcare organisations use standards-based telehealth platforms rather than consumer-grade apps like Skype or Facetime when remotely consulting with patients during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Australasian Telehealth Society (ATHS) says Skype and Facetime are not secure platforms and they needed to be used advisedly.

The call comes as the federal government confirms a new MBS item number will be made available on Friday to GPs, specialists, nurses and mental health practitioners for bulk-billed consultations with affected patients by phone or video.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: Telehealth, COVID-19


+9 # Peter Mellow 2020-03-12 08:15
I appreciate what this article is trying to raise, but don't think it is balanced. While 'consumer grade apps' such as Skype and Facetime are 'less' secure, they do have some level of security (FaceTime traffic is end-to-end encrypted using AES-256; and Skype uses 256-bit AES encryption). More importantly, they are the apps that are most accessible on consumer devices and probably the apps that patients are most familiar with. Also there was no mention of ZOOM.

My other concern is that the 'secure' platforms you mention are all proprietary systems, and while many have a free client; by their nature may be less accessible to patients/consum ers. Let's use what people know and have instead of forcing a system that may be more challenging to use and cause frustration and therefore a risk of giving up and not getting care.

User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are important considerations in any technology solution, healthcare or not. Thanks.

Peter Mellow, Director, Learning Design and Systems, Learning and Teaching Directorate, Eastern Health.
+1 # Southern Cross Hospitals staff 2020-03-16 07:30
Brilliantly said Peter. Thank you.

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