New Zealand Telehealth Service, formerly known as Homecare Medical, delivers free health and mental health advice, support and information 24/7, 365 days a year to New Zealanders. It also provides clinical support for general practices after hours and a range of virtual health and mental health support services.
During the early stages of New Zealand grappling with Covid-19, New Zealand Telehealth Services was the organisation responsible for all the registrations from people coming into the country, following up on those people for welfare checks, and eventually becoming responsible for contact tracing.
New Zealand Telehealth Services became part of the Ministry’s pandemic response in terms of public engagement.
- Stock confidence allowed NZTS to plan and forecast projects and deliver them reliably
- Increased staff satisfaction with the new audio, visual, and digital display equipment in new office premises.
- Cemented a strong partnership with PB Tech, knowing they have a direct line to get things moving through any challenges.
Covid-19 demands necessitated that New Zealand Telehealth Services change their operational response to a tactical response. To cope with its responsibilities during Covid-19, the Auckland team needed a better structure and better business process.
The new office needed to support between 200 and 250 staff members, housing all its business units and containing spaces like meeting rooms, training areas, and hotdesk areas for colleagues travelling from other parts of the country to be in Auckland.
“We found a place in College Hill and spent most of October and November 2020 planning,” said New Zealand Telehealth Services IT manager Mike Mulvaney. It intended to roll out a new desktop experience to all the staff in the new office. They had previously been on thin clients and were migrating to a full Windows 10 experience on desktops.
The New Zealand Telehealth Services team is highly technical and had a clear idea of what they needed and what they wanted in the new experience when moving to their new Auckland office. Audio and video emerged as one of the team's key priorities to make interacting with their colleagues as simple and seamless as possible.
During Covid-19, New Zealand Telehealth Services stood up a virtual contact centre into using a virtual desktop and Microsoft Azure. To do that, they needed USB headsets which had a different way of interacting with their new virtual phone system than they had used in the past.
“All of our cabling, our peripherals, all of our headsets and such, we got them from PB Tech. On a day-to-day basis, PB Tech was our first stop for everything we needed.”
“We knew we couldn't do it on the old desktop. So we knew that we needed a full Windows 10 experience and we had been through a project plan to come up with what that looked like before Covid-19 actually happened,” Mulvaney said.
It also needed equipment for meeting room and collaboration spaces. PB Tech helped procure televisions, mounting brackets, and other tech infrastructure pieces to put the contact centre together.
“All of our cabling, our peripherals, all of our headsets and such, we got them from PB Tech. On a day-to-day basis, PB Tech was our first stop for everything we needed as we have a fairly good relationship with them,” Mulvaney added.
“Getting enough headsets to respond to the demands we needed was really difficult. PB Tech Head of Government Peter Bull was able to help with procuring the headsets and video cameras.” This was at a time when supplies of webcams and conferencing equipment were running low as New Zealand tried to cope with the demands of transitioning to remote learning and remote working in Alert Level 4.
This equipment was key in enabling New Zealand Telehealth Services to make virtual GP consultations to GPs around the country available. PB Tech Head of Government and Health Peter Bull said, “Covid-19 was an incredible challenge for New Zealand. The organisations that had great fundamentals came to the fore and delivered when it mattered.
“It’s been our pleasure to support New Zealand Telehealth Services with IT hardware and we look forward to continuing to go above and beyond for NZ’s health sector and the businesses impacted most by Covid-19.”
“Working with PB Tech has been great – I’ve never had any concerns around PB Tech stocking the equipment we need and they’ve had a really pragmatic approach to working together,” Mulvaney said.
“If we make a mistake, they’ve worked with us to rectify it, they'll work with us proactively like that,” Mulvaney said that it’s been a difficult 12 months and working together with PB Tech has enabled New Zealand Telehealth Services to both set up their new premises and respond to Covid-19.
“Working with Peter and the PB Tech team, it’s meant that we can plan pieces of work that we know we need to deliver and have the confidence that we’ll have the stock we need to execute them.”
“We had to source all sorts of equipment over the last year that was getting less and less available in the country. But working with Peter and the PB Tech team, it’s meant that we can plan pieces of work that we know we need to deliver and have the confidence that we’ll have the stock we need to execute them.”