The Doctor2Go telemedicine programme is being implemented at Pak’nSAVE Hastings. The programme allows staff with health queries to access a doctor online and at work, minimising absenteeism and allowing workers to get instant feedback on their symptoms.
Brendon Smith, the store owner, said the new telemedicine approach will have benefits for staff wellbeing due to the limit number of doctors in Hawke’s Bay. “I can see the benefit also for our staff in downtime,” he said.
The service could allow each staff member to pick up between four and 12 doctor’s consultations without waiting for an appointment or paying a consultation fee. A wellbeing room has been set up so staff can use the teleconferencing service in private.
“The costs to go to the doctor these days are very expensive,” said store HR manager Kim Smith. “We have so many staff that are time-poor. Getting to the doctor is tough, so we wanted to make life easier for our staff.”
The service is available for individuals but is currently targeted at companies, who can get a discount for enrolling at least three staff members. The cost of sickness – days off and ongoing health issues – is large for many companies.
Doctor2Go co-founder Michael Haskell is excited for the programme to launch in November, and has stated the company has agreements with pharmacists who can courier prescriptions to patients.
“We are very excited, it’s a new way of doing things,” said Haskell. “There are about 200 people here, that’s a large chunk of people that might struggle to get access to a GP.”
The service is a joint venture between Hatch Equity and initially Third Age Health, a Waitemata GP clinic. The service is hoping to attract more district health boards in order to subsidise the service for low income and rural patients.