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Waikato DHB’s new online healthcare service – now even easier to sign up to.

Waikato DHB’s free online healthcare service has a new name and is now even easier to sign up to.

SmartHealth is the new name for Waikato DHB’s online healthcare service, previously known as the Virtual DHB.

Nearly 3,000 people in the Waikato are now signed up and using the service which connects patients and healthcare professionals across the region by video, voice and text link.

The service can be accessed from a home computer or via an app on a smartphone or tablet.

Darrin Hackett, Executive Director, Virtual Care and Innovation, said: “We carried out some market research which showed that our former name was confusing for the public and they thought they may not be seeing a real doctor.

“As we are still in the early stages of rolling this initiative out, we wanted to make sure we used a name that resonated with the public and explained the value of the service. It is still all part of our virtualisation strategy, which includes Telehealth and other initiatives.”

He said the SmartHealth team had also been working on a way of making the sign up easier. If you’re over 16 years old you can now take a ‘selfie’, and a photo of your photo ID, and sign up online at www.smarthealth.org.nz.

SmartHealth, powered by HealthTap, is the smart way to tap into your health. With it you can:

  • access a knowledge base of doctor-approved health information on topics, conditions, treatments and research
  • access a free out of hours doctor by video, voice or text chat (6pm – 11pm Monday to Friday, and 8am – 8pm on weekends and public holidays)
  • ask a healthcare professional a question 24/7
  • schedule online appointments with hospital specialists without leaving your home or office, if appropriate for your condition
  • link all your care team together, to better manage your health

There are different processes for signing up if you are under 16 years old or unable to manage your own account.

Usual charges will apply for people receiving services from General Practices through SmartHealth.

The SmartHealth free out of hours online doctor service is proving popular with people who have signed up so far. Dr Damian Tomic, Clinical Director of Primary and Integrated Care said “Many patients who are having consultations by text and video with a doctor out of hours have rated the service either four or five out of five stars.”

He said the number of consultations will grow as the number of people signed up to HealthTap increases.

“Being able to talk to a doctor from home has led to patients being given helpful advice to self-manage their condition instead of coming into the hospital Emergency Department and they have been issued prescriptions or advised to see their GP.”

The NZ registered doctors are also creating great New Zealand content on HealthTap for the population to use and have answered more than 1,000 patient questions online.

Hospital specialists, nurses and other DHB healthcare professionals are continuing to sign up to the system which means many patients coming to Waikato hospitals can now avoid long journeys for a short appointment when a physical examination isn’t needed.

Darrin Hackett explained: “It’s proving very effective in our renal department where transplant and dialysis patients are having their consultations over a video chat with their specialists. And age is no barrier, we recently signed up an 88-year-old patient with an ipad so she can speak to her district nurses in Waihi.”

Visit www.smarthealth.org.nz to find out more.



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