Monday 17 February 2014
Two of the country’s leading primary health networks have joined forces in delivering a variety of telephone and virtual health services available to more than 2.2 million people in New Zealand.
ProCare (Auckland) and Pegasus Health (Canterbury) are establishing a joint entity, which will trade as ‘Homecare Medical’, and carry on the business currently operated by ‘HML’ a subsidiary company of ProCare Health Limited. The 24/7 service will continue to provide afterhours GP services including nurse phone triage services, health advice, practice information and care coordination services as usual, but will have access to the support and resources, clinical expertise and intellectual capital of both networks.
Homecare Medical, working in conjunction with other health organisations, will be able to develop and deliver world leading, coordinated and connected telehealth services to all New Zealanders. These services align closely with the Ministry of Health’s policy of integrated community-based healthcare and coordinated primary care options for acute care.
Homecare Medical formalises many years of collaboration between the two organisations. For example, ProCare and Pegasus Health provided a coordinated response to the Canterbury region following the 2011 earthquakes, with HML providing additional support and services to the patients of Canterbury. Currently the two networks serve more than 1.44 million enrolled patients and support around 300 practices, more than 1,300 GPs, and approximately 1,000 practice nurses.
Pegasus Health (Charitable) Ltd Chair Dr Martin Seers says Homecare Medical is about delivering innovative and integrated services across the health sector. “The combined strength of our two organisations means we will be able to develop and deliver telehealth services that provide patient-centred contact and care beyond the reach of a single organisation.”
ProCare Health Ltd Chair Dr Peter Didsbury says, “As we are both New Zealand clinically-led primary health organisations, the fit couldn’t be better. We’re all working towards coordinated, patient-centred care that is connected to the healthcare home and in the context of a patient’s overall history and needs. At the end of the day it’s about the right care at the right time.”
A key focus of Homecare Medical will be implementing a technology roadmap. Currently the service uses a highly sophisticated telephony platform and is working on introducing new support systems in the next few months.
In addition, Homecare Medical will be working with a variety of organisations to deliver world class services supported by technology. There are a number of projects under development already, including access to shared care records, working with St John to connect patients with their healthcare home and other initiatives that support new models of care. These services will be focused on ensuring that primary care can respond appropriately to a patient’s needs and will be developed with a number of organisations, ranging from technology providers to health sector partners and other Primary Health Networks.
ProCare represents Auckland’s largest network of qualified GPs and general practice teams. The organisation has nearly 200 member practices which care for more than 841,000 patients. This includes 89,427 Maori and 113,084 Pacific.
Pegasus Health is a charitable company that supports 109 practices and 75% (357,000) of the enrolled patients within Canterbury. The Pegasus community includes 337 member GPs, 471 practice nurses, and nearly 400 support staff, as well as other community providers.
Homecare Medical (to carry on the business currently operated by HML) is staffed by registered health professionals who use their clinical experience supported by international triage guidelines to assess, advise and connect patients with the most appropriate care. Around 40 staff are directly involved in the delivery of services.