Telehealth response to Crises
Andrew is unique in the health sector and quite possibly in New Zealand. That’s because of his age, the role and responsibility he currently has, his vision, his passions, and the fact that he also maintains an in-depth knowledge of potato farming in the Wairarapa, New Zealand where he grew up.
Andrew is the founding CEO of New Zealand’s integrated National Telehealth Service (NTS), established in 2015 to virtually support Kiwis to stay well and connect them seamlessly with care when they need it.
Combining several digital health services under one umbrella, the National Telehealth Service launched with seven services; today NTS encompasses over 25. Over 3,500 New Zealanders a day contact one or more of those services – via seven digital channels. NTS is a world first and has been a game changer for equitable access to free, clinically robust physical and mental health support in New Zealand.
In January 2020 Andrew led a clinical organisation of over 400 staff of health and mental health nurses, counsellors, poisons officers, paramedics and psychiatrists – based in five centres and from their home offices around the country, as well as emergency tele-triage nurses in ambulance command centres. Then everything changed with COVID-19 and Healthline being tasked with supporting the New Zealand COVID response.
In the last four months Andrew has overseen the set-up of five new contact centres, employing and training over 700 extra people; the delivery of a five-month technology project in just seven days, to make the NTS infrastructure six times bigger; and most importantly, managing over 600,000 Healthline contacts since 1 February.
Andrew decided as a 15-year-old ambulance officer in rural Wairarapa, New Zealand that he wanted to change the health system. And he has stuck to that. Andrew’s previous roles in the health sector have been in transformation, strategy, and human resources in St John ambulance and with Vigil Monitoring.