Northland case study – Videoconferencing means patients can be treated close to home
When patient Whiti Fletcher went to Kaitaia Hospital's renal unit for her regular dialysis, she had the complication of chest pains. Through a videoconferencing link, Mrs Fletcher was assessed by a renal specialist at Whangarei Hospital, who decided she was able to have dialysis at the unit in Kaitaia as planned, rather than face the four-hour return trip to Whangarei Hospital.
Technology like videoconferencing is increasingly being used in our health system and means people can be diagnosed, treated and their condition monitored, all without having to leave the area in which they live. Digital images, such as specialised x-rays and scans, can also be shared.
Whiti Fletcher says, 'I think the videoconference is fantastic. When I am ill, I can talk to the doctor in Whangarei straight away, and he can talk to me. It saves the inconvenience of travel.'
Northland has two dialysis 'satellite' units at Kaitaia and Kawakawa, which regularly communicate with Whangarei Hospital's renal unit by videoconference. More recently, Whangarei Hospital's renal unit has begun to videoconference with renal specialists at Auckland City Hospital.