New office opens following rapid expansion

New office opens following rapid expansion27 Oct 2022

This week Emergency Consult hit a significant milestone with the opening of a centralised headquarters in Kirikiriroa Hamilton. The new office, located on Victoria Street in the middle of the CBD, will serve as an operations centre.

Emergency Consult was established almost three years ago to provide web-based video consultations on-demand. The service has proved incredibly popular – not only with the general public but also with the many healthcare providers who leverage the on-call service.

Dr Martyn Harvey, clinical director, says, “Initially we set out to provide rapid remote medical response to everyday New Zealanders. We’re thrilled that you can video call us – anytime from anywhere – and get great care. But we’re even more thrilled to be helping more people, in more ways, than we originally thought.”

“Partnering with healthcare providers has allowed us to assist our medical colleagues in their time of need too. In a system that’s struggling with understaffing and burnout that’s become really important to us too.”

Since inception, the team have recruited some of the most high performing, and high potential, Emergency Medicine Specialists in the country. Emergency Consult now employs upwards of 60 staff.

In addition to a high calibre team of doctors, Emergency Consult also employs a large network of registered nurses (RNs). The nursing team have been instrumental in delivering COVID care to various communities as well as supporting aged care facilities.

There are over 30 aged care facilities throughout the country using Emergency Consult. As aged care providers struggle to recruit and retain qualified staff, online support from experienced RNs has been vital to ensuring a high level of care is delivered to elderly patients around the clock.

Medical care is delivered to the bedside via tablet (or camera-enabled device) and has facilitated more timely treatment, increased clinical oversight, empowered health care assistants (HCAs), and reduced disruption with less unnecessary patient movements.

The aged care sector are not the only healthcare providers to leverage this always-online medical service. Emergency Consult doctors also provide clinical back-up, after-hours support and surge-demand relief to a number of smaller emergency departments (EDs) as well as rural health practitioners.

Furthermore a number of nurse-led clinics and pharmacies use Emergency Consult for easy escalation of care and on-the-spot treatment. A standard 15-minute consultation will not only include treatment and advice but may also include prescriptions, referrals and ordering of investigations.

Patients can use the service as often as needed and will remain enrolled with their regular GP or primary health organisation (PHO).

Emergency Consult is the only tele-health provider in the country to offer a 24-hour service that is available on-demand without appointment or downloading an app. It is also differentiated by the fact that it’s staffed by highly experienced Emergency Medicine Specialists (FACEMs) - who come from all around Aotearoa.

Given the geographic spread, and online nature, of the business most staff will continue to work remotely. The newly opened Hamilton headquarters will house operational and support staff - as well as being a central meeting place for the business.

Chief Executive, Jenni Falconer, says “We started this business with very altruistic values. It’s always been about getting high level medical expertise out of the trappings of the hospital setting and out to our communities.”

“We acknowledge that we can’t do everything remotely. But there’s a lot of good we can do. Especially with the timely delivery of care. So we’re absolutely relishing working with people and places who desperately need an alternate route to care. From remote communities, to those isolating in their homes with COVID, to the HCA’s on night shift double-guessing themselves – we’re here to help twenty-four-seven.”