Northland DHB Renal
Northland DHB Renal Conference
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 video conferencing 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 video conference 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 video conference. More recently, Whangarei Hospital’s renal unit has begun to video conference with renal specialists at Auckland City Hospital.
‘Before the use of video conferencing with Auckland, we mainly relied on email and written correspondence with the hospital’s vascular and radiology teams,’ says Northland DHB Nephrologist Dr Walaa Saweirs.
‘The video conferencing lets us have “real time” discussions with the vascular and radiology teams at Auckland City Hospital – meaning there is far less risk of information being lost in translation.
‘We can jointly plan the best care for the patient and clarify any clinical issues. And patients no longer have to face hours of travelling, just to talk to a specialist.’
This case study was originally published as part of the Towards Better Access ebooklet.