// By Jane Weber Brubaker //
Nigel Murray is the Chief Executive Officer of the Waikato District Health Board, headquartered in Hamilton, New Zealand. One of 20 district health boards (DHBs) in the country, it includes the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere. The Waikato DHB serves a population of 400,000 within the local urban and suburban community, and an additional one million in rural communities as a tertiary referral center.
“About a year and a half ago, we were thinking strategically about where we needed to go in the future to respond to the pressures that we’re all facing, and that is an aging population—a much more educated population about their own healthcare and expectations that the age of the internet has brought to the public,” Murray says. “So we embarked on what we call a virtual health strategy.”
Murray began the search for a technology solution. “Long story short, we chose HealthTap,” Murray says. “We felt it met all of the criteria of a partnership that could take us on this virtualization journey. It’s been very, very successful for us.”
Sometimes you have to get disruptive and think outside the box to solve your biggest challenges. That’s how Waikato District Health Board approached finding and selecting a technology partner to bring its virtual health strategy to fruition. Now that the HealthTap platform is up and running, Murray has high ambitions for increasing virtual visits and reducing outpatient visits. “We’ve set ourselves some audacious, bold goals,” he says. “One of those is to reduce our outpatient visits by 30 percent in a year, and 50 percent after that.” Consumers are ready for virtual care. A recent Harris Poll study indicates that 64 percent of Americans are willing to have a video visit with a doctor. How are you preparing for the virtualization of healthcare?
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