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At the helm of her own health management

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A new healthcare model tailored to New Zealand is empowering Kiwis to take greater control of their own needs, often saving them money, time, and stress.

Take Sheila Mottram for example; a Kilbirnie Retirement Village resident whose doctor is based at the Johnsonville Medical Centre.

The centre recently became one of the first to gain certification under the Health Care Home model, giving Sheila the freedom to continue seeing her GP, who was too good to relinquish.

Designed to ensure primary care remains fit for the future, the model is also able to cope with increasing demand, an aging population, and workforce challenges.

Sixteen other general practices across the country have also been officially certified under the model which aims to manage patient demand through telephone triage, provide ready access to urgent and unplanned care, and improve business efficiency and sustainability.

In other words, the patient portal of this model has changed Sheila’s medical regime. She no longer has to spend as much time on the phone and is able to sort out her prescriptions online.

"Once the patient portal Manage My Health went live, it became so much easier. I could flick Dr Jordan a quick email and he’d answer my simple questions.

"Like the other day, I was due for a repeat blood test, so I sent him an email but he’s away. One of the other doctors picking up his emails flicked a quick reply to say, ‘yes you are due, I’ve notified the medical labs, so just pop in’. It’s all done electronically."

The benefits range beyond just simple convenience, too.

Costs, including travel, are often prohibitive for people on fixed incomes, so regular check-ups don’t become the priority they should be.

"It costs an arm and a leg to see the doctor these days," Sheila says.

"And if you’ve got to go to the doctors and they send you off for tests, then you’ve got to go back again, it can get costly.

"But this model means I can flick him an email and then I go to see him with the results, it’s not double-dipping."

It’s been so well received, Sheila is recommending it to other retirement village residents. And despite their age, or their computer literacy, she says it’s simple for them to navigate.

"Anything that makes everyday citizens able to be in control of their own health is an advancement in this day and age."

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