|5 Dec 2022|
Through an innovation partnership with Webtools, Green Cross Health are leveraging modern technology to help combat staff shortages, adapt to consumer demands in healthcare, and benefit all New Zealanders.
A new deal between Ōtautahi Christchurch health tech company Webtools and national health care provider Green Cross Health will see a further 350,000 patients across the country gain access to new generation patient portal technology, powered by the Centrik platform.
Since launching in March this year, Centrik is currently available to around 120,000 patients in Canterbury, Invercargill, and Queenstown through partnerships with Better Health Group, Waitaha Primary Health, and Phoenix Healthcare Group in partnership with Third Age Health. Recently, Queenstown Medical Centre have also signed on to use the platform.
Working with Webtools, Green Cross Health have launched The Doctors, a consumer health app powered by Centrik. The app’s modern design and underlying technology provides consumers with a frictionless patient portal experience when connecting with their general practice. The Doctors app enables patients to access their health summary, book appointments, request repeat prescriptions, message their primary care team, and attend virtual consultations.
Green Cross Health General Manager Medical, Wayne Woolrich, says, “Having an app or patient portal is something we wholeheartedly believe in. It’s one of the ways we know gives our patients better access to their health care, and it relieves the admin burden, cuts down on phone calls coming into the practice for appointments, scripts and lab test results. In the long term it means that processes are more efficient, and teams can focus more on delivering best-practice patient care.”
Centrik’s user-friendly and intuitive technology, combined with Webtools’ ability to develop and execute modern software solutions was what Green Cross were looking for in a partner to move their portal into modern times. Wayne says, “The technology needed to be user-friendly and frictionless. If patients log in and find it too clunky, or they can’t figure out how to use it, they will opt out. Then that investment is meaningless, and we’re stuck providing old-fashioned limited access to care and clogged phone lines.”
Webtools CEO, Harry Hawke, says the patient portal market has lacked innovation and Centrik is changing the status quo. “The technology is easy to engage with meaning people don’t give up on the app in frustration and ring their practice. The app comes complete with native iOS and Android integrations for the patient including biometrics for authentication, accessibility features, and native calendar integration. Patients can use the messaging feature to chat with their GP and the thread is added to their notes,” says Harry.
These benefits seek to relieve stress on an over-burdened primary care system, with recent surveys showing that “close to one million people reported that they were unable to obtain an appointment at their usual medical centre within 24 hours, at least once during the previous 12 months” (1).
Starting with their network of 58 medical centres, The Doctors app is the first step to realising Green Cross Health and Webtools’ vision of a fully integrated ecosystem of care, improving the way kiwis interact with health providers. Development of the second step to provide seamless virtual care is well advanced. Wayne says, “Soon patients will have the ultimate in choice through the app – to book an in-person or virtual appointment with their preferred GP through to booking a casual consult on HouseCall.”
The aim of the innovation partnership is to build tools that integrate with practitioners and providers throughout every stage of a patient healthcare journey. The technology is built to adhere to international health data standards, meaning it can be integrated with - and quickly deployed and rolled out to - a range of health services. This vision of virtual primary care technology will extend across Green Cross’s three divisions: medical, pharmacy and community care, and outside the group to allied health and specialist care providers.
Centrik’s development roadmap and new technology features are built with feedback and input from end users, this includes both patients, healthcare providers, and clinicians. This collective approach ensures that the needs and pain points of those using the application are understood, and tools that deliver the greatest value first are prioritised. Working with stakeholders and partners like Green Cross Health is central to the Webtools development process. Close industry partnerships and engagement with consumer and provider advisory groups are key to the technology’s success.
Centrik has been built to adhere to international FHIR health data standards, meaning it can easily integrate with any healthservice provider systems that adhere to these standards. As a Medtech ALEX® partner, Centrik connects with Medtech Evolution and 32. This secure and standards-based integration to the patient’s health records means only the data that is required and consented for is accessed from the practice management system (PMS) by Centrik in real-time.
“We are excited about the opportunities that our new partnership with Green Cross Health brings. This collaboration enables our joint vision of improved health outcomes for New Zealanders through better access to health information and digital tools,” said Harry.
(1) 2021 GP Future Workforce Requirements Report