Frequently asked questions

What is SmartHealth?

SmartHealth is about putting the patient at the centre of their healthcare. It enables healthy communities by:

  • empowering patients to manage their own health
  • giving patients a say in when and where their healthcare is delivered
  • improving access to timely care for everyone no matter who they are or where they live
  • delivering services closer to home to make it more convenient for patients.

What is HealthTap?

HealthTap is a global mobile health company we have partnered with for a two year trial. HealthTap is the current provider of the platform we are using to deliver Smarthealth, and the name of the app that patients and clinicians download and register with. HealthTap:

  • uses technology to allow health professionals and their colleagues the ability to link up with patients over a smart device or home computer wherever they are
  • creates a patient-centred clinical record that the whole care team can access
  • integrates with our Clinical Workstation and GP patient management systems
  • offers doctor-approved health information

Who is eligible to register?

Anyone over the age of 16 who is covered by Waikato District Health Board services and eligible for public health services can register for SmartHealth. Either you are living in the Waikato DHB district [PDF, 403 KB] or you receive tertiary services from us but at another DHB.

If you live elsewhere in New Zealand you can download HealthTap and access the online health information.

How do I sign up?

If you’re over 16 years old you can sign up online*. You will need to scan your photo ID and take a ‘selfie’ to accompany the form.
You can also visit a Waikato DHB hospital (Hamilton, Thames, Te Kuiti, Taumarunui and Tokoroa) with your photo ID and sign up at the general enquiries desk.

Once your ID has been verified you will receive an email inviting you to set up your account. This typically takes 24 hours.

* There are different processes for signing up if you are under 16 years old or unable to manage your own account.

When will all GPs and hospital specialists be on the HealthTap app?

We are working to sign up Waikato Hospital specialists and different services will be coming on board progressively. We are talking to GPs about opportunities this service can offer their patients too. Usual charges will apply for people receiving services from General Practices through SmartHealth.

What about people who don’t have good mobile phone reception at home?

The system can work on mobile phones or via a landline connection. You can access the system from a desktop or laptop computer with a broadband connection. We are working with our telecommunication supplier to address connectivity concerns where we can.

What devices is this app available on?

The HealthTap app is available on Apple and Android devices, not Microsoft. But on a Microsoft device linked to the internet you can access the system online, just not on an app. You can also access the service on a desktop or laptop computer.

The app is free, but will a consultation use up the data on a person’s mobile phone?

We are working with providers to make the HealthTap app ‘zero rated’ which means that it doesn’t eat into someone’s phone provider data plan while they have their consultation. But until that happens, yes it will use the data.

Are patient’s health records safe? Will they be stored overseas?

We are using a cloud-based service and the system sits in the US. It is held at the highest security level. This service is being used by hundreds of thousands of patients in the US and across the world, with thousands of Kiwis already using the international version of HealthTap too.

We have agreement to use this system from the New Zealand Government's chief information officer.

The patient controls which clinicians are part of their care team, which then allows these clinicians to see the patient records.

While people in NZ can access the answers to health questions that have been asked globally, they will only be able to virtually connect to a NZ registered health professional and not an overseas health professional.

Although the patient records entered into HealthTap will be able to be accessed through the doctor’s Clinical Workstation, we are not placing the health records we currently hold in our Clinical Workstation onto HealthTap.

Why do we need SmartHealth?

We are facing huge demands in healthcare. With scarce resources, a declining workforce, an aging population and an increase in long term conditions like diabetes, we need to change the way we deliver services, make them more efficient and move them closer to people’s homes. SmartHealth is an innovative solution that can help us meet these future challenges and patient demand for a greater say in their health.

 

Out of hours FAQ

Who are the out of hours doctors?

HealthTap out of hours doctors are highly qualified and well trained NZ registered doctors. They are all working across NZ and here in the Waikato. We have around 10-15 doctors on the roster, with two doctors on duty at any one time. If we find during the pilot that we need more on duty, we will change it.

How is the out of hours service different from Healthline?

Healthline is a really good national health service which uses an 0800 number to put you in touch with a qualified nurse who can provide recommendations and information. Our service is run by doctors, which means they can diagnose, prescribe and give more comprehensive advice than the Healthline nurse triage service can.

What happens if the service is overwhelmed with requests? Will there be a queue?

When you click on the link to ‘talk to a doctor now’ you are told how many minutes you’ll need to wait for the next available doctor. We are monitoring the ability of the service to respond to all requests. 

As a parent or caregiver can I ask the doctor about my children or my elderly parent?

Yes, you can use your SmartHealth account to talk to the doctor about people you care for.

Is it safe?

We have really good evidence that not everyone needs to be seen face to face – many people can be safely helped online. However, if the doctor feels the online consultation is not the safest and most appropriate for that patient then they will refer them to be treated in person or send them to a hospital or Accident and Medical Centre. Patient safety is incredibly important to us and we will be monitoring the service daily to make sure it is safe and identify any immediate issues. The doctors will always err on the side of caution. 

Do these doctors have access to all the patient’s current medical files?

The doctor can only see what has been entered by the patient in HealthTap – but it’s important that the patient puts in information about allergies and medications they are taking for instance. The doctor can also access Waikato Hospital records.

Can the online doctors order tests?

Not currently, but we are hopeful this will be possible in future.