Attending your consultation

You’ll need a smartphone, tablet or laptop with a camera and a good Wifi connection.

  • Follow the link we send you via email or SMS
  • Click the link and join the virtual waiting room
  • The doctor will admit you and your consult begins
  • Your consultation lasts up to 15 minutes

HouseCall FAQs

How will I know if my medical issues can be treated this way?

When you book a HouseCall there are a few simple questions to answer about your medical issue that will help us determine whether a video consult is right for your needs.

Within the first three minutes of the consult our doctors and nurses will listen to your concern and decide if your medical issue is suitable for telehealth. They may immediately refer you for a face-to-face consult in person and a partial refund will be provided in these circumstances. Please see our Cancellation and Refund Policy.

What kind of medical care can I get through HouseCall?

Our doctors and nurses are experts who can help with all kinds of normal medical issues during an online video consult. Some types of care may not be suitable to for telehealth, such as for serious or urgent medical needs or problems that are likely to require a physical exam.

Some people may find a video consult unsuitable such as those unable to use the technology (e.g. confusion), physically or cognitively disabled, deaf (some deaf and hard-of-hearing patients that can lip-read and/or use the chat function may still be suitable for a video consult), unable to speak or understand English (unless they have access to an interpreter) or visually impaired (telephone may still be an option).

How can the doctor or nurse really know what’s wrong if I don’t see them in person?

Research shows that if the technical connection is high quality, clinicians and patients can communicate by video in much the same way as an in-person consultation*. Having a HouseCall online consult is like seeing a doctor at the clinic but they 'see' you or your family member through the video screen. The doctor will use a combination of seeing you on video, your explanation of your situation and a description of how you are feeling to decide on a plan of care.

Having a HouseCall online consult means you still get to 'see' a doctor without driving, traffic, parking or waiting in reception.

BMJ 2020;368:m1182 doi: 10.1136/bmj.m1182 (Published 25 March 2020)

How long are HouseCall consults?

A HouseCall online consult is 15 minutes long, generally the same as when you visit medical centre. This includes maximum face-to-face time with your doctor or nurse and a few minutes for them to complete other tasks, such as writing prescriptions or letters on your behalf.

What happens if I need more time or a follow up consult?

Need more time? If you need more time to discuss your medical issues, please arrange this with the doctor during the HouseCall. They may suggest booking another consult or to visit your GP in person. There may be a new charge for a second HouseCall. 

Need a follow up appointment? Simply arrange this with the doctor before the consult ends. They may suggest booking another HouseCall or to visit a practice in person.

How much is HouseCall?

A HouseCall consult fee is only $69 which covers everything that an in-person consult does. Go to our Pricing page for more information on fees.

The fee to see or speak with our medical experts in a HouseCall is similar to the cost of visiting the medical centre for a casual appointment in person.  It's related to the doctor’s time rather than the technology used or the location of the consult. People usually find it’s quite relaxing having the consult in the comfort of your own home rather than coming into the medical centre. Check out what others had to say about video consults.

How can I pay?

When you book a HouseCall you will be asked to make your payment using our secure online payment platform. Once payment is made and the booking is complete you will receive an email confirming the appointment along with instructions on how to join the consult at the appropriate time.

I’m not enrolled at The Doctors can I still book a HouseCall? 

Yes, regardless of whether you are enrolled at one of The Doctors medical centres, whether you are enrolled with a different medical centre, or if you are booking as a casual patient, you can book a HouseCall.

if you want to enrol at one of The Doctors medical centres near you click here.

Can I cancel or change my appointment? 

It’s always possible to change your appointment and it’s best to let us know at least 2 hours before your start time. Cancelling less than 2 hours before your consult may incur charges, please see our Cancellation and Refund Policy.

What happens at the end of the consult? 

Throughout the HouseCall your doctor will discuss your medical issues and work with you to build a plan for wellness that you both agree on. Lastly, they'll summarise next steps which may include any or all, of these:

  • Send an electronic prescription for medicine to a local pharmacy
  • Arrange a lab test e.g. a blood test for you
  • Write a referral to a specialist or health service e.g. hospital, physiotherapist
  • Email you some educational material about your condition/problem
  • Request another follow-up appointment for you
  • Refer you to clinic for an appointment in person
  • It's our standard practice to send the consult notes to you and your GP, however, you can decline to do this during the booking process and at the end of the consult

How can I get my medication? 

The HouseCall doctors can prescribe/arrange medication in consults, where and required. Any costs for a prescription are covered in the consult fee. The doctor will send your prescription to your chosen local pharmacy. If you are seeking a long-term prescription for the first time it is generally advisable to visit a doctor in person.

What if I’m not satisfied with the consult?

We take your care seriously and we welcome your feedback. If you or a family member are not happy with the consultation, please tell the doctor or nurse straight away so they can respond to your concerns. Anytime after the consult, you can provide formal feedback here.

Is it secure and private?

Just like an in-person consult with your doctor or nurse, your HouseCall will be private and confidential. The doctor will be in a private location, please choose a place where you can talk freely and can't be accidentally overheard. If others are present let your doctor know. Your doctor will take notes in the same system we use when you visit the practice in person. 

The systems used during a HouseCall meet recommended standards to protect the privacy and security of your visit. Your information is not stored in the online platform. Since a HouseCall takes place using your own device in your own environment, here are some guides from CERT NZ and tips for good online safety habits.

What technology do I need? 

You'll need a computer or laptop with a camera, a tablet or a smart phone. Most modern laptops have an inbuilt camera at the top of the screen. If you’re not sure where to find it or how to use it, you may need to get someone to help with this before the consult. You'll also need a good internet connection - you can use data, but WiFi will give you a much better call quality. 

If there are issues with your video connection e.g. the picture stops/freezes or the sound stops, the doctor will immediately phone you on your mobile number to assist or to complete the consultation on the phone.  

Using a mobile phone for your consult

Once you've prepared what you want to discuss and found somewhere to talk privately:

  • Click the consultation link in the email or SMS from your mobile phone 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment time
  • When prompted, enter the date of birth you provided when booking
  • Then simply wait in the waiting room until you see/hear the doctor. When it's time for your HouseCall the doctor will admit you into the consult room. If there's a problem or the doctor is running late, a message will appear on your screen. Please avoid screen locking your phone
  • Once admitted, you may be asked if HouseCall can access your microphone or camera - select 'Allow'
  • In the consult room you should be able to hear and see the doctor on a video consult 

Tips for the best HouseCalls

For the best results, before your consult starts:

  • Write down what you want to discuss, have a pen/paper handy to jot any notes down during the consult
  • Choose a private space to talk freely and safely. If others are present, let your doctor know
  • If you’re using a smartphone or tablet, find a way to prop it so you can move freely
  • Ensure no one else is ‘streaming’ while you’re having your consult i.e. someone using the same WiFi network to watch a video will affect your quality
  • Click the consult link in the email or SMS 5 minutes before your scheduled time to test your audio and video

Unable to hear the Doctor or they can't hear you?

  • Does the microphone icon have a line through it? If so, click to turn it on 
  • Ensure the volume on your phone is turned up 

Unable to see the Doctor?

  • Does the video icon have a line through it? If so, click to turn it on

Want a regular GP or need a consult in person at a medical centre?

We encourage everyone to have a regular GP or Nurse Practitioner and to be enrolled with a medical centre for ongoing healthcare. Building a relationship with a healthcare provider means they can get to know you and give you the best individual care and advice.

If you don’t have a regular GP or Nurse Practitioner or are not enrolled at a medical centre, we can help. With 43 practices around the country there is bound to be one near you. 

Check them out

Enrol Online Now

Contact us with HouseCall queries

Contact us online form

Feel free to complete the online form or you an email us contact@housecall.co.nz and we'll come back to you as quickly as possible.

Do contact us if something happened during or after your consult that you want to follow up, for example

  • the video lost connection and you couldn’t reconnect with the doctor to finish the consultation 
  • to rebook a new HouseCall with the same doctor 
  • your prescription didn't arrive at the agreed pharmacy

Your feedback is important to us. Tell us how we did so we can do better next time
 
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*Please note: HouseCall is a new service, we are continually testing and improving so initially availability may be limited.  In the unlikely event of your chosen doctor is unavailable to attend your appointment we will contact you to reschedule your HouseCall to another time that suits you.  If you require in-person treatment following your online consultation, you are welcome to visit your normal doctor or we can refer you to one of 44 medical centres across New Zealand.