April 01, 2022
Electronic doctors’ visits suit Māori
A kaupapa Māori study into the experiences of Māori with telehealth during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown has found against whānau actually liked telephone and other electronic communication with doctors.
Researcher Matire Harwood says telehealth consulting was introduced with 24 hours’ notice because of fear of covid transmission in waiting rooms.
She says many medical professionals were worried major health issues could be missed without hands-on examination and whakawhanaungatanga connection could be lost on the phone.
“Whānau actually said it was so much easier for them to get in and talk to the person they wanted at a time that suited them without having to sit around for potentially hours in a waiting room, not having to take time off work or school, doing the consultation in their own whare, in their living rooms or in their bedrooms where they felt comfortable and had whānau around them,” Dr Harwood says.
She says the value of telehealth is again being demonstrated with doctors communicating with patients stranded by flooding in Tairāwhiti, and she can see a future in which there are medicine vending machines in remote locations which can be accessed with a doctor-provided code.