Teleclinics are a popular alternative to specialist hospital visit
Tuning in remotely to a specialist appointment, when time constraints mean you can not be there in person, is proving a popular at Waitemata DHB.
Waitematā DHB's otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) division trialled teleclinics this year, which allow people to dial into a video meeting.
Clinical director Dr David Grayson said the response from patients was overwhelmingly favourable, with more than 50 invited patients having opted for a teleclinic, or remote consultation, to see whether the option might be viable on a permanent basis in the longer term.
Just one participant has so far stated a preference for physical appointments in the future.
"Some patients don't necessarily need to come in and see us in order to have their issues or conditions managed adequately – especially if the appointment is a first assessment," Grayson said.
"That option is obviously there for them if they prefer. But the patient's GP has already done a physical assessment and we have all of the notes on a screen in front of us - so it's really business as usual.
"That said, it is also very simple to get someone to open their mouth in front of the camera if you do want to have quick look at their throat."
Waitemata DHB chief executive Dr Dale Bramley said the teleclinics are among initiatives being explored and developed by the organisation in its efforts to deliver best care through the smart use of mobile and digital technology.
"We have two main priorities as a DHB," Bramley said. "The first is to maximise health outcomes for our community and the second is to give our patients and their families the best experience that we possibly can.
"This kind of thinking ticks both boxes and helps us, as the largest DHB in the country, to keep pace with the expectations of a fast-growing and digital-savvy population."