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Resources Available To Help Patients Move To Using Telehealth

NZ Telehealth Resources Centre and Health Navigator NZ have today released online information to help people begin to use telehealth more to access health services, ie, secure email, phone, text, video and patient portals.

NZ Telehealth Leadership Group (NZTLG) chair and emergency doctor Waikato DHB Clinical Director Information Services and Virtual Healthcare Ruth Large says New Zealand has many good examples of using telehealth already, and now we need to scale this up.

“At this time, it is important that we reduce our physical contact with patients as much as possible. However, this does not mean we will be reducing how we care for them,” Dr Large says.

Resources to help health providers and patients use telehealth are now available on the NZ Telehealth Resources Centre and Health Navigator NZ websites.

“This way of accessing healthcare will be new to many of us, so we will also need to be patient with each other as we become comfortable with this new way of doing things,” Dr Large says.

She says the current COVID-19 situation may be upsetting for many and the resources are designed to reduce anxiety and risk.

“As health professionals we recognise that many of you may worry about how you receive medical care. The move to telehealth/virtual consultations is a way we can support you without you having to physically visit us.”

The resources

Health Navigator has information and resources for consumers and clinicians. These include a guide for consumers/whānau on what telehealth is, FAQs about why this change is happening, what patients/consumers can expect, the health conditions that suit telehealth, how to prepare for a telehealth appointment and more. The site also has information for health providers about the changes and telehealth in general.

The resources can be found here: healthnavigator.org.nz/telehealth

Partnership to support patients
Health Navigator clinical director and CEO Janine Bycroft says Health Navigator is working in partnership with NZTLG.

“As part of our collaborative approach to working with organisations across the health sector, we are partnering with the NZ Telehealth Resource Centre to support health consumers and whānau with resources to help them make the change to this new way of ‘seeing’ their healthcare provider.”

Both doctors want to reassure patients about the changes.

“If you do need to have a physical consult with your healthcare provider, the fewer people in the waiting room as a result of this move the better for you. It will reduce the risk for you and clinic staff,” Dr Bycroft says.

Healthcare providers are doing all they can to make sure those who have to visit their clinics are able to do so in a calm and safe way, she says.

“Remember, if you are worried you may have COVID-19, you should phone your GP before turning up to the clinic.”

More resources will continue to be developed by the partnership.

To find out more go to healthnavigator.org.nz/telehealth. There are also resources for health providers at telehealth.org.nz/covid-19/health-provider

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