Auckland – Into the second week of coronavirus lockdown, New Zealand’s primary care doctors, nurses and staff are putting in an amazing effort to switch to phone and online health consultations in such a very short timeframe, a leading New Zealand IT health expert says.
GP clinics across the country have moved quickly to ensure continuity of care by providing the majority of their consultations online or over the phone meaning that patients don’t have to physically go into the clinic unless they absolutely have to, NZ Health IT chief executive Scott Arrol says.
“These are extraordinary times and it requires special measures to make sure we grab this opportunity during the lockdown to help control this virus.
“The tireless work by everyone involved both at the frontline and behind the scenes to make virtual healthcare happen is incredible.
“This is clearly an absolute necessity for the Kiwi healthcare system and also means an adjustment is needed from the public, so they know what to expect when doing an online consultation with their doctor or nurse. Being prepared ahead of the consultation will help.”
Arrol says that there are a number of online resources available to the public so they can better understand what to expect and recommends NZ Telehealth and Health Navigator as excellent publicly available sites to learn more.
“Most people are already used to connecting with friends and family by phone, text, social media, email and video apps plus the GP’s patient management systems provide options for them to connect safely and securely in a virtual way with their patients.
“It doesn’t mean that patients won’t be able to be physically examined by their doctor. When doing a virtual consultation, the GP will make the call on whether the patient should come into the clinic or not.
“The clinicians involved will always put their patients’ health first and we should view this move to virtual healthcare as just another way to engage with the health system, not only during the pandemic but into the future as well,” he says.
The dedicated Healthline COVID-19 support number is 0800 358 5453.
NZHIT is the key go-to health tech organisation representing the health IT industry sector and has many members with digital solutions that enable the delivery of virtual healthcare.
For further information contact Scott Arrol on 021 414631 or Make Lemonade NZ news director Kip Brook on 027 030188