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Minister announces eHealth Ambassadors

Health Minister Tony Ryall has tonight named a group of seven innovative GPs who will lead the way in a national rollout of patient portals this year.

“A patient portal is an online service which allows a patient to securely log in and do things like check their latest laboratory test results, order a repeat prescription, or send a message directly to their GP – all from the convenience of their home,” says Mr Ryall.

“This gives patients much greater access to their own health information and the ability to manage more aspects of their own care. The portals also offer huge benefits for doctors, and I’ve already received great feedback from GPs about the benefits of having this service in their practice.

“One GP told me the online portal has made his workload easier to manage, and is a much more direct way of contacting his patients. His patients have also described the convenience of being able to communicate online with their GP.

“The seven eHealth Ambassadors will work closely with the National Health IT Board to encourage more GPs to establish patient portals in their practices this year,” says Mr Ryall.

The eHealth Ambassadors are: Dr Richard Medlicott, a Wellington GP; Dr Bev Nicolls, a Nelson/Marlborough GP; Dr Damian Tomic, a Hamilton GP; Dr Brendon Eade, a Te Aroha GP; Dr Karl Cole, an Auckland GP; Dr Andrew Miller; a Whangarei GP; and Dr Sue Wells, University of Auckland.

“All of the eHealth Ambassadors either use a portal in their own practices or are in the process of introducing one.  They will be able talk to other GPs about the benefits of portals for patients and clinics, and provide guidance and support as they establish their own portal,” says Mr Ryall.

“Between 15 to 20 percent of general practices have, or are in the process of implementing these portals. By the end of the year we want at least half of all general practices in New Zealand to be offering a patient portal.

“Having these innovative GPs available to help other GPs with practical advice and give the benefit of their own experiences will really help to encourage the further rollout of portals around New Zealand,” says Mr Ryall.

Media contact: Bill de la Mare 021 924 331

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