SouthCare to work with patients to improve their health care
Reduced waiting times, better results from clinic visits and access to health advice and support 24 hours a day are some of the exciting changes patients will see at South Taranaki’s local general practice, SouthCare.
SouthCare is the operational arm of the South Taranaki Medical Trust. Trust general manager Kevin Simpson says staff have been through a significant change process to make sure patients have the right support and care when and where they need it.
“As a start, we recently appointed three medical centre assistants, which is a new role. Their job is to greet patients on arrival to the practice, complete any pre-consultation checks including height, weight and blood pressure, support the clinical team with administrative tasks, and manage the practice’s work flow,” says Kevin.
“The medical centre assistants are also actively promoting a new online service available to patients through our website at www.southcare.org.nz. Once they have registered, patients can access their health information online, update their contact information, track their progress, and even send secure electronic messages direct to their GP to save them the time and cost of coming into the practice.” he says.
The team at SouthCare is streamlining current procedures and ways of communicating with each other, all with a view to improve the care of their patients.
“We are now working on our internal facilities to accommodate an on-site pharmacy and ensure all consultation rooms meet the requirements of our new model of primary health care. We are also working on our IT infrastructure to make sure we have the right systems and tools in place to support patient care,” he says.
Taranaki DHB consulted with the general public of South Taranaki in 2011 and a number of issues were highlighted, including the need for better access to primary health care services and wait times for patients. As a response to the identified challenges faced in South Taranaki, the South Taranaki Medical Trust chose to roll out a new model of care designed by Midlands Health Network.
Kevin says SouthCare has established a focus group to engage patients in the change process and identify any ongoing issues moving forward.
“Eight patients will be testing and evaluating various elements of the model of care over the next one to two years. It’s crucial that our patients support what we are doing, so while we will be providing them with a wider range of services and smarter ways to access their health information, we will also be looking for their feedback to make sure the new system is working.”