Doctors Launch NZ-First Mobile App – Bringing GPs And Their Patients Together
With the country in Covid-19 lock-down, few Kiwis are venturing out to their local GP practice. But the launch of an innovative new mobile app means the GP can now treat you, in the comfort of your “bubble”, day or night.
Called Well Revolution, it’s New Zealand’s first mobile app-based GP consultation and prescription service, developed by doctors, for doctors, aimed at supporting GPs through the Covid-19 crisis and beyond, allowing patients to get timely access to professional health advice and medications.
“We have been building this app for over two years and, by chance, released it to our first partner GP practices the week before the lockdown” says Well Revolution co-founder and urgent care doctor Sasha Kljakovic. “As health professionals ourselves, we saw a moral obligation to provide this app for free in support of the nation’s GPs, many of whom are struggling to keep their practices afloat and stay connected to their patients due to Covid-19 closures. At the same time, many New Zealanders isolating at home will still be needing medical care and advice but may be unable or too anxious to currently venture out to access it. Our app offers safe, secure and private GP consultations, no matter where the patient lives, 24 hours a day”.
The Well Revolution app has been specifically designed for ease of use with no need for an appointment or pharmacy checkout line. Patients start a consult with their usual GP by simply sending a message in the app. If their GP is not available or has not yet joined, there are standby doctors waiting to help 24/7. The unique messaging-based platform offers far more flexibility than the usual video or voice call consultation. Consultations can take place quickly via instant text and voice messaging or live face-to-face video and audio consultations, with patients also able to upload photos, videos and other files to assist with diagnosis. Prescriptions are paperless and sent electronically to the patient’s choice of pharmacy for pick-up or home delivery.
Dr Kljakovic says in an effort to support New Zealand GPs during the Covid-19 crisis, Well Revolution is waiving any service charges to doctors aside from a low credit card transaction fee. The app is free for all New Zealand doctors and practices to join. GPs can consult with their patients, e-prescribe, send follow ups, alerts and updates, automatically bill and collect payments all in the app. It requires no new software, hardware or complicated setup.
“As a doctor-led initiative this is about supporting the nation’s GPs, allowing them flexiility and a new way of working, augmenting their ability to care for their patients” says Dr Kljakovic. “Because it’s portable on smartphones, doctors dont need to be in their clinic. This means they can provide care and prescriptions for their patients quickly, wherever they happen to be. GP practices have full flexibility and control with the ability to set their own service hours and fees.
Well Revolution has joined forces with MedRecruit, Australasia’s largest medical recruitment company, to manage the doctor workforce needed to to meet excess demand. MedRecruit Founder and Managing Director Dr Sam Hazledine says the new app allows doctors to stay connected to their patients throughout this crisis.
“This is a challenging time for doctor wellbeing, yet doctor wellbeing has never been more important, with our health professionals out on the frontline dealing with this crisis” says Dr Hazledine. “Anything we can do to support primary care and foster and maintain the doctor-patient relationship right now is vital. We have many highly-trained GPs already signed up to Well Revolution, ready to dispense care to patients in the community wherever and whenever needed”.
GPs already using the app say it has a bright future beyond this current crisis for both giving and receiving care.
“It’s a great concept, is well-executed and definitely has the potential to really improve the way we as GPs look after our patients” says Dr Torrance Merkle from Hobsonville Family Doctors in Auckland. “It’s really flexible and speeds up communication and is a great solution for replacing voicemail messages, phone tag, text messages and email. Patients can message us at any time and we can respond whenever we get a short break and respond quickly, whether it be a request for repeat medications, a query about a skin rash or something more urgent”.
Pharmacist Louise Talbot, owner of Wellworks Pharmacy Boulcott in Lower Hutt, has already received several patient prescription referrals via the Well Revolution app.
“Its really intuitive and easy for the patient to use” says Talbot. “Once the patient gets the prescription from a doctor on the Well Revolution app, they can use the app to find their nearest pharmacy or have their prescriptions delivered. We call the patient to explain the medications if needed and they can then either pick it up from us or we can organise delivery to their door. Its really straightforward”.
The The Well Revolution app is built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) using technology like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) which provides secure, resizable compute capacity to allow Well Revolution to rapidly scale and meet the needs of all New Zealand GPs no matter their location.