Marlborough medical practices roll out the 'internet banking' of healthcare

Francis Street Medical receptionist Jenny Green uses the medical centre's new patient portal.
SELINA POWELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Francis Street Medical receptionist Jenny Green uses the medical centre's new patient portal.

The medical equivalent of online banking has been rolled out at two Blenheim medical practices. 

The Blenheim practices Francis Street Medical and Redwoodtown Doctors, have signed up for technology that allows patients to manage their healthcare online. 

Francis Street Medical practice manager Anna Young says the patient portal allows patients to make medical appointments and in the future it will allow them to order repeat prescriptions.

The portal is convenient for patients and takes pressure off staff, Anna says.

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"At 8.30am or 9am in the morning the phones are just crazy. We can ease that by having patients make their appointments online." 

The Manage My Health system was introduced to Francis Street Medical, which has 5500 enrolled patients, at the beginning of May. 

Each patient can choose whether they want to sign up for the free online service. 

As well as making appointments and re-ordering prescriptions, some patients will be able to check their test results through Manage My Health.

Anna says it is up to the discretion of a patient's doctor which results are made available online. 

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Medical records are not stored on the portal and it has the same level of security as internet banking, Anna says. 

There was a cost to the practice of setting up the portal, but Anna says this is offset by the benefits to patients and staff. 

Francis Street Medical patients who are interested should visit the practice reception to organise a unique activation code. 

They will also need an email address to sign up to Manage My Health. 

Last year Health Minister Jonathan Coleman approved $3 million in funding to give more New Zealanders access to patient portals.

Nationally more than 330 general practices were offering patient portals, with close to 136,000 New ​Zealanders registered to use one. 

An online map launched at the beginning of May allows people to find out which practices within their region are offering a patient portal. 

To access the map, go to patientportals.co.nz

 

 

 - The Marlborough Express

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