Clinician based perception of the implementation of Telehealth Services during the COVID-19 pandemic: An Australian experience

Janice Wong1, Mr Christopher Kwok1, Mr Luvern Moothan1, Ms Anna-Marie Thompson1, Ms Susan Cantwell1, Dr Janice Wong1,2,3

1St John of God Health Care, Social Outreach, Mental Wellbeing Services, Perth, Australia, 2Telethon Kids Institute, Nedlands, Australia, 3The University of Western Australia, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Nedlands, Australia

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the delivery of healthcare. Since the onset of the pandemic, many mental health services have implemented the use of tele-mental health (TMH), which refers to the use of telephone, or video conferencing to deliver services. Analysis of the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) national data showed an increase in uptake of TMH in Australia, particularly between March and May 2020 (Jayawardana et al., 2020). However, little is known about clinicians’ perspective on the rapid implementation of TMH. Evaluations of TMH services have demonstrated them to be feasible, and effective (O’Reilly et al., 2007). A recent study in the United States showed clinicians reporting high levels of acceptability of TMH in clinical practice (Gentry et al., 2020). As TMH services may play an important role in the future delivery of mental health services, it was of interest to investigate the perception of TMH held by Australian clinicians.

This study aims to investigate clinicians’ perspectives of the implementation of TMH in a community setting in Australia.

All services within the Social Outreach Directorate in St John of God Health Care will be invited to participate. A total number of four services have agreed to participate, equating to a maximum total of 104 staff, spanning three states in Australia. Participation would involve the completion of the Implementation Questionnaire (Weiner et al.).

It is of interest to investigate clinician perceptions of the use of TMH as findings may inform the use of TMH services in the future.


Natasha has held diverse clinical and leadership positions in all client sectors in Australia and the UK.
With a background in Social work, adult education, change management, service innovation and project management she has worked with a broad range of health teams to adapt systems to cater to the changing landscape within the health sector.
Natasha is currently the WA state manager for Community Mental Health at St John Of God Health Care in Perth.


Janice is a Clinical Psychologist and Researcher at St John of God Mental Wellbeing Services. Janice’s research interests include investigating population factors associated with mental health admissions, psychopharmacological treatment for mood disorders, and the evaluation of service improvement initiatives. Janice is passionate about teaching and supporting evidence based professional development.

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