LEVIN FAMILY HEALTH - Open 1st August 2023

Video/Phone Consultations and Home Visits

Video consultations, also known as telemedicine or telehealth, have become increasingly popular in healthcare settings.

  1. Accessibility and Convenience: Video consultations eliminate geographical barriers, allowing patients to access healthcare services from the comfort of their own homes. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with mobility limitations, those living in remote areas, or those facing transportation challenges. Patients can schedule appointments at their convenience, reducing waiting times and minimizing the need for extensive travel.

  2. Time and Cost Savings: Video consultations save time for both patients and healthcare providers. Patients avoid the need to commute, wait in crowded waiting rooms, or take time off work. Additionally, video consultations can be more cost-effective, reducing expenses related to transportation, parking, and childcare.

  3. Improved Access to Specialists: Video consultations enable patients to easily access specialists who may be located in different cities or regions. This is especially valuable for individuals with complex medical conditions or rare diseases, who can benefit from specialized expertise without the need for extensive travel.

  4. Continuity of Care: Video consultations support ongoing care and follow-up appointments, ensuring continuity and consistency in treatment plans. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with chronic conditions or those requiring regular check-ups, as it allows for timely monitoring and adjustments to their healthcare management.

  5. Patient Engagement and Education: Video consultations facilitate active patient participation, as individuals can discuss their concerns, ask questions, and receive educational materials directly during the virtual session. This can lead to improved patient understanding, engagement, and adherence to treatment plans.

Video consultations offer significant benefits in terms of accessibility, convenience, time and cost savings, access to specialists, continuity of care, and patient engagement. While face-to-face interactions remain essential in certain situations, the integration of video consultations in healthcare provides an efficient and effective alternative that enhances patient-centered care.

Therefore we are pleased to announce phone and video consultations may be utilised as part of our appointment scheduling. These will be charged at the same rate as a face-to-face consultation and MUST maintain strict time slots. Terms and Conditions Apply. 

Clearly there are pros and cons to these consults versus a traditional face-to-face visit.

But the diagnosis may not be as accurate as a face-to-face consultation if an examination is required. 

When to choose or not choose an off-site consultation

Situations that probably will not work well are:

  • Chest or stomach pain – these often need an examination

  • Injuries

  • Blood Pressure check – unless you and your GP are happy to rely on home readings

Situations that might work:

  • Rash, if we can establish a video link with you on your smart phone. Bear in mind though that the feel of a rash is often important in diagnosis, as is a good video connection

  • Cold, sinus infection for a week or so with no shortness of breath

Situations that would probably work well:

  • Check in regarding mental health, repeat of anti-depressants – this often does not require a physical examination

Until this point, if we have thought you need examination after your phone consult we have been booking patients a second, free appointment, but this is unsustainable in the long term.

So, if after your phone consult we recommend you come in, we will have to charge you for this second appointment. Obviously, it is your choice whether you come in for this or not and we can do the best we can with the info we have gained on the phone to produce a plan that does not require this – but it is our clinical responsibility to let you know when we think you would benefit from further review.

Further options available would include Specialist Consults within the clinic – this process would involve collaboration between the clinic, the patient, and the specialist. 

Instead of the patient having to travel to Palmerston North or other Specialist clinics we would organise for a video conference between Specialist, Patient and Clinician on-site to facilitate the consultation – this would, in effect:

1. Reduce travel time for the patient back and forward to specialist offices
2. Encourage better mediation and management of patient care alongside the Specialist and Clinician on-site
3. Allow ease and flow of communication between all participants
4. Reduce stress and anxiety for patient 
5. Align better clinical and medical management for patient care