New Zealand telehealth looks bright with Vivid Solutions

Photo of Vivid Solutions trade show stand in New Zealand

Vivid Solutions is a New Zealand leader in health-sector video conferencing and unified communications.

The company’s technology and expertise have powered the telehealth services offered by New Zealand’s District Health Boards, nationwide, for almost 20 years.

Photo of Simon Hayden from Vivid Solutions

Additionally, Vivid Solutions technology is used to deliver remote health services for correctional facilities, social support groups, and not-for-profit organisations.

Vivid Solutions also distributes the Visionflex range of telehealth technology that is designed and manufactured in Australia.

We sat down with Vivid Solutions’ Managing Director, Simon Hayden (pictured), to talk about health services in New Zealand and the important role of telehealth.

Visionflex: What can you tell us about the current state of telehealth in New Zealand? Is it healthy?  

Simon Hayden: There are definite developments in the area, including the creation of a telehealth forum. I think people in the NZ health sector and the general public now understand more about what telehealth is and what the benefits are. COVID-19 lockdowns meant that telehealth was often the only option to receive healthcare and support.

The Ministry of Health NZ is embarking on a process to roll out a new telehealth system across the South Island. What do you think the outcome will be?

Hopefully a more cohesive and standardised system and platform to reduce the need to travel and have faster, better access to health providers.

I feel there have been too many differing providers of telehealth solutions; where in the past, it was standardised across the sector which enabled easier and better supported connectivity.

The Visionflex range is so user friendly and with such a plethora of available peripheral devices it can cover virtually every specialty that needs to provide remote healthcare.

As we learn to live with COVID-19, telehealth usage is also entering a new phase of consolidation. What role do you think telehealth will play in the future delivery of health services in New Zealand?

Telehealth is, and will continue to be, a core component of the NZ health system moving forward. The ability to remotely treat and monitor remote communities or people who will otherwise struggle to travel to seek medical help or support, is essential.

To have video and multiple medical devices available to perform remote patient examinations and support diagnoses, treatment, and patient monitoring is a key component.

Hybrid healthcare refers to a system where health services are delivered via a combination of both in-person and telehealth consultations. What are your thoughts on hybrid healthcare?

A hybrid approach is key. For example, we are currently conducting a project where the local ambulance provider has a Visionflex ProEX Mobile telehealth tablet with peripheral devices, which is used around remote communities and Marae* with store-and-forward function, as well as video connectivity to the Lakes DHB (District Health Board) clinical support team.

When and where internet is unavailable – which does still happen in rural New Zealand – the store-and-forward function enables the person using the system to upload all patient information, securely, as soon as connectivity is established.

New-generation telehealth technology enables remote clinical examinations via a purpose-built video conference platform, using medical devices. What does clinical telehealth mean for clinician and patient experience?

It will allow instant clinical support via live video connectivity for a community-based medical professional or even a health-trained member of the community.  

A health professional can use clinical telehealth technology to take and store all patient vitals or clinical information such as pictures, measurements, weight, and blood pressure etc. This patient information can be automatically saved to a practice network or an electronic health record.

Having the ability to capture and also access clinical information remotely, greatly increases the scope of primary health services that can be delivered to medically remote patients. It improves access for patients, ultimately improving health outcomes.

*Marae: a Māori meeting ground with traditional buildings which are used for important cultural events and community meetings and workshops.

Vivid Solutions

Visionflex – clinical telehealth solutions for medical professionals.