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​Telephone and Video Consultations with your Medplus Doctor

Aug. 24, 2018

Telephone and Video Consultations with your Medplus Doctor

We are always striving to find new ways to make accessing healthcare easy. Currently we are talking with our software developers about new ways to use video consultation technology with our existing systems. The beauty of video consultations over telephone consultations is that we get to visualise what is going on, and sometimes we learn as much from visual clues as we do from what we are told. Whilst we work on accessing video technology we would like to promote the option of telephone consultations, for patients who are well known to us and who have a select list of issues, to save a trip in to see us.

Before you think that sounds too good to be true, there is a proviso. The majority of what we do requires a physical examination, whether looking at a rash, examining a wound, listening to a chest, or checking the range of movement of a joint. If a physical examination is required then clearly a telephone consultation is not going to work. For example, you definitely need to be seen if you need a smear, have a sore ear, a chesty cough, abdominal pain, require a sick certificate for your employer or WINZ, or want to register an accident on ACC. Do not try and cut corners, if you have a suspicion that we may need to see you then it is best to come in to be seen.

We have been offering telephone consultations for some time to some selected patients who require regular review and no examination. It has been working well and we believe we can safely offer it more regularly. For example, a follow up of a patient who has well controlled anxiety or depression - in this instance no physical examination is required and we can ask questions to find out what we need to know. Now that more patients have their own medical equipment, such as blood pressure cuffs, scales, blood glucose monitors and pulse oximeter devices (on their smart phones) we are realising that we could have a virtual consultation for follow up of many more conditions. For example, well controlled high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disorders and possibly even contraception for those who have been happily managed for a while. Even the advice part of a travel clinic consult could be conducted remotely. We frequently have telephone consults with concerned family of frail and forgetful patients, who want to tell us what problems they see happening in the home. We also sometimes speak to patients who are overseas but need medical advice.

If you think that you may be a candidate for a virtual consult please ask your doctor next time you are in. If you are, then make an appointment on the portal as normal, but with an appointment note that it is a phone consultation and leave the best number to reach you. The same charges will apply to telephone consultations as they do face to face consultations. Please do ensure you answer your phone -and anticipate that we could be running later than you scheduled (although we endeavour not to).