In the new world of navigating COVID-19, we’ve seen a surge in online healthcare and it’s certainly been welcomed by many. Kiwis across the country can see the doctor from the comfort of their own home or wherever they are with the launch of virtual health consultation platforms like Bettr.

Bettr is the first at scale virtual consultation platform backed by a network of trusted doctors from 48 Local Doctors and White Cross clinics.

We asked a parent to review the website and share their thoughts with us on how the platform works and their overall experience.

Liz, mother of two, was excited to put the platform through its paces.

First impressions

Like every other mum or dad would, I had some reservations about using an online service and forgoing the face to face aspect of seeing a doctor with my 14-year-old daughter. But it was level 3 of lockdown in Auckland and the thought of dragging her into a GP was daunting, especially when her symptoms weren’t COVID-like and the waiting could take hours.

Enter Bettr. I’d heard about it from a friend and thought I’d give it a go. As an enrolled patient with my local White Cross (with GP services), I was pleasantly surprised at the initial price point of $10 for registered adults ($49 for non-registered) and of course, free for under 14s. Cost? Tick.

Booking on Bettr

I hopped onto the website and clicked ‘Book Bettr’ where I was immediately prompted with a check list of symptoms or situations that would require immediate medical care and which Bettr would not be suitable for. This eased my concerns as I ticked no and progressed to the first of four steps in the simple booking process.

I was asked a series of questions: is it sickness or injury/accident, am I registered with their services, what the medical issue relates to and what type of booking I’d like to make (video or phone consult). Once I’d made my way through, I proceeded to part two of booking which gave me date and time options as well as which doctor I’d like to see.

Two thoughts occurred to me at this point. The first was that the times went from 8AM right through to the evening, which immediately struck me as handy being a working mum juggling a full-time job. I stored the info away for future use when I needed to squeeze in an appointment of my own.

The second thought that occurred to me was the ability to pick a female or male doctor. This would come in handy for my daughter, who might prefer a female GP when she has medical questions that I can’t answer, or Dr Google isn’t quite right for.

I selected my preferred date and time and went on to the next step. Once I’d input all the required details, I was prompted to the payment screen where there was no fee (because of her age) and that was that. The whole process took less than five minutes.

Instantly I received a text and email confirming my booking with a link to access my appointment (which I got for the same day). Easy as.

Appointment time

Five minutes before our appointment time we clicked on the link and sat in the virtual waiting room. We chose to use the iPad for this session, but you can choose to have your consult from your mobile phone or desktop if you prefer.

Bang on time, the doctor appeared. I don’t think I’ve ever had an on-time appointment before, so I was blown away.

The appointments last ten minutes, which initially worried me as I wondered how you could possibly give an accurate diagnosis and build a rapport within ten minutes, but I needn’t have worried. The doctor was fantastic, and we were immediately put at ease. The first minute or so was spent verifying that we are who we said we were and asking some background questions.

The consultation was extremely thorough, the doctor asked all the same questions they would in a face to face consult and the only difference was their ability to check for temperature. The doctor made it clear early on that if they felt she needed to be referred for an in person consult they would finish the session and refer us right away.

Fortunately, in her case the doctor was able to diagnose her and prescribe her medication with the prescription sent to our local pharmacy. The whole process took 15 minutes and we received the prescription within the hour.

Liz’s verdict

I think it’s great if you’re a busy mum or dad who doesn’t have time to get to the doctor themselves, or if you’re a parent like me who would rather not bundle two kids up in the car and spend 30 minutes in a doctor’s waiting room if I don’t have to.

Of course, Bettr won’t completely replace our traditional GP altogether but it’s certainly a great solution for things like renewing prescriptions, tummy bugs or reflux, medical certificates for school or work, or just asking those health questions that you’ve been driving yourself crazy Googling. I’d definitely use the service again for myself, my husband and my kids.

Check out their website for more information or to try Bettr for yourself.

And for more expert healthcare advice check out our Grown ups: Health and wellbeing section.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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