Online Video Appointments

At Ellerslie Medical Centre, one of our goals is to improve accessibility to healthcare. We are introducing a new digital health service – online video appointments.

Over the next few months we will be running a trial of this new online service for our enrolled patients, led by Dr Catherine Chan. This service is not available to visitors or casual patients.

Our existing computer systems are not able to cope with online video appointments and we have had to invest in new technology off-site to provide this secure online video platform. 

This service falls outside the Ministry definition of  a standard daytime consultation at the practice where the patient is enrolled and therefore there is no discount for Community Service Card Holders or children.

There is a flat fee for all online video appointments, for all ages, regardless of CSC status: $64 per 15 minute appointment. The fee is the same for appointments after hours and on weekends.

We value your feedback and suggestions to help us improve this new service, therefore we will be emailing a survey to all of you who try this out. 

Click here to book an Online Video Appointment



It is important to note that online video appointments are not always appropriate, especially if you need any kind of physical examination (e.g. throat swab, blood pressure, heart and lung check).

What are the benefits of online video appointments?
  • Increased convenience
  • Live video appointments. Talk face-to-face to your doctor via camera
  • Avoiding your need to travel to the doctor’s clinic
  • Reduced absence from work
  • Get prescription delivered to your pharmacy for pick-up straight away. We can fax prescription to any pharmacy anywhere in New Zealand.
  • Security. We use systems that meet recommended standards to protect the privacy and security of the video visits.
  • Continuity of care. Available to our enrolled patients only. We have all your health records available.
What could be appropriate to do as an online video appointment?
  • When you don’t require a physical examination
  • Long term mental health reviews
  • Palliative care reviews
  • Work and Income benefit reviews
  • Travel medicine conversations or advice when traveling
  • Patients with physical access & mobility issues
What is not be appropriate to do as an online video appointment?
  • If you are experiencing chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe pain, allergic reaction, or bleeding, do not book online – contact our medical centre immediately 09-5796147 or dial 111 for an ambulance.
  • Physical examination is limited online, please book a face-to-face appointment at the clinic if you need any kind of physical examination (e.g. throat swab, blood pressure, heart and lung check).
  • Babies and young children who are sick, as they need to be examined by the doctor.
  • We are unable to do ACC claims or renewals by online video appointments at this time.
What equipment do I need? Where are the online video appointments provided?

The online video appointments are provided by doctors working at Ellerslie Medical Centre. To begin with Dr Catherine Chan will be the only doctor providing this new service.

You can join the online video appointment from anywhere, your bedroom, your house, or your work. Choose somewhere private so your consultation will not be overheard!

A computer or device with a camera & microphone is required. See instructions for logging in for details.

Click here for info on what you need for your session.

Before your first appointment we strongly advise you to run a Precall test to check and verify that your device is able to conduct an online video consultation. 

What is the cost of my online video appointment?

A flat fee of $64 per online video appointments applies (standard 15 minutes duration)

At this stage there are no discounts available for those with the community services card as this service falls outside the Ministry definition of a standard consultation. The cost is the same for children as well as adults. 

This flat fee also includes after hours appointments including weekends, which we think is good value plus saving you time at your local Accident & Medical clinic.

How do I pay for the appointment?

Payment is by credit card. Payment can be made at any time prior to the consultation using the same link as the consultation. This link is on your appointment confirmation email.

Once the payment has been made, the participant is then allowed to join the consultation.

What if I need to cancel my appointment?

Simply click on the cancel your appointment link in your confirmation email to cancel anytime before your appointment. 

If you have already paid and need to cancel, we can refund the consultation fee minus a $5 administration fee.

How to get the most out of your Doctors appointment?

The standard appointment time with a doctor is 15 minutes. This is a short time for you to explain your problems and for the doctor to examine you and decide on a treatment plan. If you feel 15 minutes is not enough time to discuss all your concerns you may be best to book a double appointment with your doctor. (appointments for 30 minutes will incur double the fee above)

How should I prepare for an online video appointment?

You can help get the best from an online video appointment by following these simple steps:

  • arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow for preparation time
  • avoid wearing brightly patterned or reflective clothing as this may interfere with the quality of the camera image
  • switch your mobile off or to silent mode
  • speak clearly so your voice can be picked up by the microphone
  • if you have a question or need help during the online video consultation, just ask.
What happens at the online video appointment?

You and your doctor will be on a computer screen at each end of the online video consultation.

You will be asked some identifying questions such as your name, address, and date of birth to make sure the right patient and right health records are present. The doctor will speak with you and ask you questions in the same way as they would at a face-to-face consultation.

Who will be present?

You, your GP.

As with a face-to-face appointment, a support person/whanau may accompany you if you wish.

How private is the online video appointment?

The same privacy and confidentiality requirements that apply to face-to-face consultations apply to online video consultations.

 It can only be seen and heard by the health care professionals involved.

What if I need to be examined?

Physical examination is very limited over video, therefore if you require a physical examination we suggest you book a face-to-face appointment at the clinic.

If the video visit does not achieve everything that is needed, you will be given a choice about what to do next. This could include a follow up face-to-face visit, or a second video visit. Normal consultation fees will apply.

Will the online video consultation be recorded?

No. Our practice does not record online video consultations and we do not give patients permission to make their own recordings of an online video consultation. If your GP thinks it would be helpful for your treatment to record particular images during your online video consultation, they would first seek your permission to do so.

Resources that are shared during the online video consultation, such as information leaflets, whiteboard, chats and links may be downloaded for future reference.

What if I feel I can’t continue?

Most patients feel a little nervous at the beginning of their first online video consultation because it’s a new way of seeing their doctor. However, most patients soon feel very comfortable with this kind of consultation. It’s very unlikely you’ll feel unable to continue with an online video consultation. If this does happen, you can leave although consultation fees may still apply.

How can I provide feedback on my online video appointment?

We value your feedback so we can continue to improve our online video appointment service. We will email you a patient feedback form after your first online video appointment.