MedOnline responds to recent industry developments in online doctor services.

MedOnline has been operating a successful national GP telemedicine service since 2019.

Recent articles in the Herald and show that a new telemedicine service called Tend is planning to launch later this year in NZ. This has some serious financial and well known business backing. A key point in this article is they appear to be launching in Auckland first with a small clinic. This is worrying for GP practices as it suggests they will be following the business model seen in the UK by a company called Babylon. Some patients who signed up with the app were surprised to find out later they had been de-registered from their local surgery. Why? (the answer is slightly complex and involves the funding system for GPs..)

GPs in New Zealand are funded in part by capitation (a government payment per patient on their list) and co-payment (the fee you pay at reception for services). General Practice sees a very wide variety of patients and issues - some patients will be on the books and might only attend once every few years (if you are healthy). Some patients however may attend the practice far more often and have multiple complex issues. Traditionally this mix helps to balance out the funding on the capitation side.

If a provider starts picking off the capitation payments for young, active, healthy patients (i.e. the ones who want to download an app and just use that) - it will upset the balance of GP funding and practices will suffer financially. MedOnline does not affect capitation funding at your local surgery, you remain registered with them for all your GP and out of hours needs.

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