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Waikato DHB launches SmartHealth SOS in response to cyclone

Waikato District Health Board has made its SmartHealth online doctor service available to anyone to use in an emergency immediately, without having to register. It means you can see a doctor for free from wherever you are, if you can’t travel or are cut off due to the bad weather created by Cyclone Cook.

To access the SmartHealth SOS service you need to click on this link https://smarthealth.healthtap.co.nz/get_started/relief enter your email address, phone number and create a password. You can then use the service on your desktop computer or download an app to talk to a doctor from your smart phone or tablet.

People can sign up to SmartHealth SOS anytime from now until 11pm on Monday 17 April. The access would be valid for two weeks.

Waikato DHB Chief Executive Dr Nigel Murray, said the DHB had started working on the SOS system following the Kaikoura earthquake.

He said: “We realised that in a crisis like an earthquake or a severe weather event many people could get cut off and unable to travel to a doctor – either their local GP or an Accident and Medical Clinic. We wanted to make sure that these people had access to a doctor who could give them the appropriate clinical advice or just offer reassurance. But if they need urgent medical care they should still dial 111.

“This will be really helpful for people in the Waikato and in particular Thames/Coromandel where a state of emergency has been declared and people are either being evacuated or advised by civil defence not to travel during the cyclone. If people are stuck at home or in their car and need medical advice they can call, video or text chat with a doctor from their smartphone 24/7 over the long weekend.”

SmartHealth is a free service that you can access through the HealthTap app on your smart phone or tablet device or from your desktop computer. It works on broadband or your cellphone network. HealthTap is an international digital health company that Waikato DHB has partnered with to offer this service in New Zealand.

SmartHealth offers:

  • A knowledge base of doctor-approved health information on topics, conditions, treatments and research.
  • Online access to an out of hours doctor by video, voice or text chat (6pm – 11pm Monday to Friday, and 8am – 8pm on weekends and public holidays).
  • The ability to ask a healthcare professional a question 24/7.
  • Online appointments with Waikato DHB hospital specialists without leaving your home or office, if appropriate for your condition.

During the Easter period the out of hours doctors will be on duty 24/7 from 1pm today till 11pm on Easter Monday

Normally people have to register online or at their local Waikato DHB hospital for the SmartHealth service, using photo ID, but from 1pm today until 11pm on Monday 17 April, people can follow the link and register to get free access for two weeks.

At the end of the two weeks people can then register for the service online with their photo ID at www.smarthealth.org.nz to convert their temporary access to permanent access to the service.

If you are already signed up to SmartHealth you can also access the out of hours doctors 24/7 over the holiday period.

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