Our mission: better patient outcomes and safer healthcare in Australia
How we’re achieving high-quality and safe care through telehealth
Whilst 99.9% of experts agree that telehealth provides better access to care, some in entrenched corners of healthcare say it comes at a cost to patient safety.
These groups maintain seeing a patient in-person is the only safe way to treat patients for their otherwise untreated conditions, such as menopause or pre-diabetes.
We simply don’t agree.
At Eucalyptus, we believe that high-quality and safe care can be achieved by giving doctors a new generation of technology-enabled tools to treat patients, from anywhere and everywhere.
Our consultation infrastructure is built around an ‘asynchronous’ core, where the doctor and patient are in consultation that takes place over a number of hours or days.
A stellar record of patient safety to-date.
Eucalyptus is the only telehealth company in Australia with certification from the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS). This required an independent assessment of the safety and quality of our clinical service, and our auditing system.
Our clinical insights team track safety at all of our core patient touchpoints. We audit over 4,000 prescriber consults every month for safety and quality, closely monitor pharmacy dispensing protocols and hold our medical support teams to first response time and quality targets.
All of these clinical governance protocols are the foundation of our stellar record on patient safety.
Our medical support team of registered doctors, pharmacists and nurses are ready to support all of our patients. We believe we can work together with the wider healthcare industry to consider how best to use technology to bring a new level of rigour to safer care.
Myth busting what’s in the news
There’s been a lot of discourse in the media recently about telehealth and we’d like to debunk these with examples of how asynchronous care functions at Euc.
You can get prescriptions just by filling out the quiz, without ever talking to your doctor.
Patients complete a detailed pre-consultation questionnaire, with up to 100 questions to collect a comprehensive medical history.
Information is reviewed by an Australian doctor, who is bound by the same rules and regulations as every other GP. Doctors then talk to patients via text through our app.
Doctors have access to a full set of tools on our platform – they can request photos, blood tests, ask for measurements such as blood pressure and external validation of medical history from the patient. Doctors can also make phone or video calls if they choose.
Medication is only ever prescribed by an Australian doctor. Almost 40% of patients who enter a consult aren’t deemed eligible and are instead referred to a face-to-face GP.
Many patients learn new information which they can take back to their local GP for treatment – we have diagnosed many patients with pre-diabetes they did not know about which they can take back to their local GP for treatment.
Telehealth platforms fragment care
One of telehealth’s biggest strengths is the ability to leverage technology to maintain regular contact with the patient via a wider care team of nurses, health coaches and more.
In contrast, when you leave your local GP’s office, the contact with your doctor stops immediately and you often have to wait weeks to get your next appointment.
Patients increasingly don’t have one consistent, regular GP with 31.8% of Australians reporting seeing multiple GPs in the previous 12 months  and 42% of respondents aged under 30 attending multiple GP practices .
With Eucalyptus, our treatment continues — including regular check-ins and follow-up consultations, and through a wider support team of nurses, health coaches, dietitians, personal trainers.
Telehealth services are causing shortages of medications that diabetics need.
The medication used to treat diabetic conditions is Ozempic. Doctors on the Eucalyptus platform have never prescribed Ozempic in Australia.
Telehealth is the “Mcdonald's” of medicine.
Telehealth is a different way of communicating with a doctor that is subject to the same basic rules as one you see face-to-face.
Most doctors on the Eucalyptus platform are Fellows of the RACGP, which means that they have taken additional training and assessment to practice independently.
Eucalyptus has been certified by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards against the EQuIP6 standards (similar to the certification that most GP clinics receive) and is the only telehealth company to be certified in this way.
In many ways, you get a deeper healthcare experience over several months of regular use of our platform than you do after a 15 minute consultation every 6 months with your local GP.
Telehealth is just big businesses trying to make profits.
Eucalyptus is privately funded and billed, meaning it does not access a cent of the $12.4 billion from Medicare that GPs do . Instead, we’ve saved the Australian Federal Government $25-30 million in the past 4 years .
We exist as a supplement to public healthcare system and employ Australian doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.
Getting transparent within our patient process
At Eucalyptus, we have a detailed patient process that is touched by numerous teams to deliver high-touch, high-quality healthcare.
Here is what the process looks like at Euc:
1. Pre-consultation questionnaire
A patient completes a detailed pre-consultation questionnaire of up to 100 questions before speaking to one of our GPs.
The information is reviewed by our accredited doctors, most of whom are Fellows of the RACGP.
2. Doctor consultation
The patient is then assigned to a doctor, who begins a text-based consultation with the patient. These chats can last days, as the patient replies to and asks questions when it is convenient for them to do so.
30-40% of patients will be considered unsuitable for treatment by the doctor at this point, and redirected to their local GP with additional information
If suitable for a treatment, the doctor will seek the informed consent of the patient before prescribing an individualised, comprehensive treatment plan. The patient will then make a decision on whether to proceed with that treatment plan.
3. Pharmacy dispensing
Our treatment plans include the patient’s medical information with their prescription, allowing a partner pharmacy to provide an extra layer of safety with specific counseling for patients.
The patient can choose to have their script fulfilled by a Eucalyptus partner pharmacy or can receive the script to fill at their local pharmacy.
If the patient chooses a Eucalyptus partner pharmacy, the pharmacy will dispense the medication and arrange for it to be delivered to the patient’s home.
As 28% of Eucalyptus patients are located in regional and remote areas, this delivery option is taken up in most cases
4. Ongoing medical support
The patient then enters our program, where they have unlimited access to their prescribing doctor, our medical support team of registered nurses and pharmacists, our health coaches and our operational support staff.
They can track their outcomes on each treatment plan, their side effects and many other measures using a range of tools we have built specifically for conditions, such as pregnancy checklists, skin tracking tools and weight management apps
5.Clinical auditing of patient safety
In the background of these interactions, various teams at Eucalyptus are monitoring prescribing decisions through extensive clinical audits (more than 100 consults per day), side effects through detailed tracking and analysis, and patient outcomes on numerous treatment plans.
We monitor daily safety metrics at the 5 core touch points we have with our patients (below) and report on them to the business fortnightly:
Support (our medical support and health coaching team)
Prescribing (the practices of our doctors on the platform)
Platform (the infrastructure supporting the consultation and information management)
Pharmacy (the dispensing practices of Eucalyptus’s partner pharmacies)
Treatments (patient safety events and other incidents as a result of the medications prescribed via the platform)
Our medical team is at the forefront of delivering high-touch patient care
We have a medical support team of qualified and registered doctors, nurses and pharmacists ready to support all of our patients throughout their journey with us.
Our doctors are all registered with AHPRA and based in Australia
Most are Fellows of the RACGP (ie, they have passed additional exams entitling them to practise independently, and are usually at least 5 years post-graduation).
They are experienced in community practice (the vast majority of doctors on Eucalyptus’s platform work part-time, and otherwise practise in a GP clinic).
They are experienced specifically in relation to one or more medical conditions treated on Eucalyptus’s platform.
We do not prescribe to anyone and everyone
We have robust and thorough prescribing protocols, with 30-40% of patients who speak to our doctors being deemed ineligible for pharmaceutical treatment and are recommended alternative programs for weight, and/or consulting with an in-person GP.
To ensure we maintain our safety and quality standards, our medical support team audit more than 4,000 consults each month
Audit findings are fed back to prescribers to constantly improve the safety and quality of the services and tailor the delivery of healthcare services to individual patients.
One of the enormous benefits of asynchronous telehealth is that it allows such detailed and robust quality assurance work to take place.
We are not a replacement to GPs
The current GP system, as it stands, is already strained with a shortage being a reality, and the cost of Medicare increasingly in the spotlight.
The healthcare system has many fragmented systems and we are trying to support and alleviate stress for a part of it.
Eucalyptus’ telehealth offering improves the access to patients who can’t secure a GP appointment without a long drive and a long wait, particularly in regional areas with 28% of our patients coming from these areas in Australia.
We are not here to fragment the industry but to compliment it, to make it more accessible and efficient for patients and healthcare professionals.
National Health Performance Authority. Healthy communities: Frequent GP attenders and their use of health services in 2012–13. Sydney: NHPA, 2015.
Wright M, Hall J, van Gool K, Haas M. How common is multiple general practice attendance in Australia? Aust J Gen Pract. 2018 May;47(5):289-296. doi: 10.31128/AJGP-11-17-4413. PMID: 29779298.
This is a conservative estimate based on the fact that GPs on Eucalyptus’s platform have undertaken over 700,000 consultations, each of which would have been eligible for a $39.75 Medicare rebate if provided in a physical clinic.
Dr Matt Vickers
Head of Risk and Safety
About the contributors
Dr Matt Vickers, Clinical Director
Angus Wood, Head of Risk and Safety