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The story of a parent, patient and healthcare professional

Andrea Evans’ 10 year old son Olly was at a mountain bike camp at Tongariro National Park when he began to suffer a severe hayfever reaction due to an existing tree pollen allergy. He had a sore throat, sore eyes, and was wheezing and having trouble breathing. The camp organisers called home and Dad went down to the camp to collect Olly.

Andrea got on the phone to their family GP and they considered taking Olly in to Taumarunui Hospital, but after using his ventolin inhaler Olly’s condition improved a lot and they decided to head home to Hamilton.

Unfortunately, by that evening the picture wasn’t looking so good. Olly had gone downhill again, he was pale, weak and quite unwell. Andrea knew he needed medical care, but Olly just wanted to sleep.

At about 8pm Andrea decided to contact a SmartHealth out of hours doctor and avoid a trip to A&E. Using her iPad, she logged in and connected with a doctor straight away. “The doctor was friendly, professional and thorough,” says Andrea. “She carried out the online consultation as if we were in the same room.”

Olly needed oral steroids and more ventolin to bring his allergic response under control. The doctor sent a prescription to Anglesea Clinic and Andrea’s husband was able to pop out, pick it up and be home again within an hour of contacting the doctor.

“I was really impressed with the service. The doctor was just fantastic, asked all the right questions and put Olly and I at ease,” says Andrea.

“It was so great. Within an hour Olly had the medication he needed, and we didn’t have to get him out of bed to wait in A&E with other sick kids when all he wanted to do was sleep. By the next morning Olly was much better and we were all so relieved.”

Before the out of hours doctor consult, Andrea was already using SmartHealth for its doctor-approved information on health topics. “The information is straight forward and really helpful, it’s a great resource when you just need to check facts or look something up.”

Now she’s telling everyone she knows to sign up to SmartHealth. “Everyone should sign up, why wouldn’t you? I can’t tell you how thankful we were to get the help we needed for Olly without having to leave home that night.”

Andrea is also using SmartHealth in her job as a health professional. A nurse for 34 years, she has seen some big changes in her time, especially in the way technology is used in healthcare. “Using SmartHealth as parent, patient and professional has shown me the enormous potential for technology to change the way healthcare services are delivered,” she says.

In her current role as nurse educator, Andrea supports about 150 nurses across the region, many in remote locations. “SmartHealth works really well as a clinician to clinician tool for nurses to seek peer review and advice on individual cases. We all have iPads and access to SmartHealth, which in the end means better access to professional support.”

“It’s just a different way of doing things. I can see so much potential to deliver services more efficiently, and to reach people who might otherwise not be able to access health services when they need them.”

More about SmartHealth

SmartHealth offers a free online platform and mobile app that allows people to access a range of health services via smart phone, tablet device or computer including:

  • Free after hours online access to doctors by video, voice or text chat (6pm – 11pm Monday to Friday, and 8am – 8pm on weekends and public holidays)
  • The ability to ask a healthcare professional a question 24/7
  • Online appointments with hospital specialists without leaving your home, if appropriate for your condition
  • Helpful checklists and reminders
  • Good quality, doctor-approved health information on topics, conditions, treatments and research.

Join SmartHealth for free at www.smarthealth.co.nz

For more stories visit SmartHealth in Action.

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