Virtual Health Appointments
Virtual health appointments have many benefits for patients, their families and whanau
What is virtual health?
The Southern district is a large area, and many of our people live a long way from specialist and other health care. For those with restricted mobility, the journey to a medical centre may be challenging, even if it is in the same town or city.
Virtual health (sometimes called telehealth) helps address this by using video to connect patients to healthcare providers at other locations.
Similar to an in-person appointment, patients are able to see, hear and talk to a healthcare provider via the video link. Appointments can take place at hospitals, GP offices, other healthcare facilities and can also take place from the patient's home.
The same as with a regular appointment in person, all virtual health consultations will be conducted in a private room and your information is documented in your clinical record. Virtual health uses a secure network, and consultations are not video recorded.
After completing your virtual health consultation you may be asked to complete a short survey about your experience. This will help improve the service for yourself and others.
Who is involved in a virtual health appointment?
A nurse or other staff member will set up the video link and may stay in the room with you. The clinician or healthcare practitioner at the other end of the video conference will introduce themselves and anyone else present, and make sure you are comfortable with what will take place during the consultation. The appointment will run much the same as a regular consultation.
Additional people can also be linked to the video to join you for the virtual health consultation if needed.
Southern DHB is a training facility and there may be a student or trainee present, but only with your consent.
Is virtual health an option for me?
Virtual health has many benefits for patients, their families and whanau. It can be a convenient option for follow-up appointments, or patients who require no physical examination. It is especially helpful for those living in remote areas who could otherwise face the time and expense of long journeys to receive care, and those with restricted mobility.
It can be suitable for a wide range of situations, from maternity care to mental health.
Ask your specialist if a virtual health appointment could be an option for you.
Can I have a virtual health appointment from my home?
It may be possible, but there are requirements to ensure a successful experience.
If you are a patient participating from home you must have:
Your own device, such as a computer
Minimal background noise
Adequate internet speed.
If you are a rural or remote patient and do not have access to these things at home, you have the option of attending a hospital facility that may be closer to you, to use their virtual facilities for the consultation.
How do I prepare for a virtual health appointment?
Check your appointment letter carefully for time and location details. You may also be asked to bring test results, x-rays or medications. Please arrive 15 minutes early to allow time to set up for the video consultation. You are welcome to bring a family member or support person along with you.
For any queries about your video consultation, ring the contact number on your appointment letter and ask for more information or you can request an in-person consultation instead.
I have been offered a virtual health appointment, but I would rather see someone in person. Is this possible?
Everyone has the right to make decisions regarding their healthcare in New Zealand. If you would prefer an appointment with a specialist in person, please let us know. You may refuse participation or withdraw from the virtual health consultation at any time, and an in-person appointment will be arranged for you. You may need to travel for this appointment.