Clarifying expectations around the delivery of telehealth in New Zealand

Media releases

We've updated our advice for doctors when using technology to deliver health care services to ensure safe and effective care for patients.

“Telehealth consultations have become increasingly common practice since the arrival of COVID-19. Our updated guidance will help doctors provide their patients with a high standard of telehealth care that is right for them and their circumstances,” says Council Chair, Dr Curtis Walker.

“The main changes are to provide more guidance to doctors on electronic prescribing and when it is more appropriate that patients see their doctor in-person.”

Key changes include:

  • recommending doctors have a clear understanding of a patient’s medical history and health care needs before prescribing via telehealth;
  • prohibiting the prescribing of controlled drugs for the first time to patients who have not been appropriately assessed, or do not have a regular doctor;
  • more clarity about when physical examinations are recommended before prescribing via telehealth.

“With telehealth services rapidly expanding and evolving in Aotearoa, it’s important doctors have clear guidance to deliver a high standard of telehealth. In addition, we are working with the medical schools, specialist colleges, DHBs and the NZ Telehealth Leadership Forum to ensure doctors have appropriate skills and training in telehealth.”

“Thank you to the wide range of health care organisations and professionals who contributed during the consultation.”

You can read the updated statement at the link below.

  • Statement on telehealth

    Telehealth is the use of information and video conferencing technologies to deliver health services to a patient or to transmit information regarding that patient between two or more locations. This statement outlines our expectation of doctors who practise telehealth in New Zealand and overseas, and includes guidance on registration, conducting physical examinations and prescribing.