Samantha Bailey is not sure where her place in the world of general practice is, but she aims to find out with her newly launched model of online care.
Since opening for business last December, her virtual appointments on swiftmed.co.nz have grown to about 40 a week, many of them with tourists or other visitors to New Zealand.
Dr Bailey, a clinical trials researcher at Christchurch Hospital, charges patients $40 for an online 10-minute consultation, making no claims on capitation payments. Patients can request a prescription from a range of medications for general conditions and this can be faxed to a local pharmacy or the medication delivered to the door.
Online consultations, held mainly in the evening, cover prescription requests for everything from hay fever to contraception and erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common reasons for making an appointment, possibly because patients, particularly in rural areas, don’t feel comfortable talking to their local GP about it, she says.