Published October 24th 2018

Patients travelling overseas can now electronically access a copy of their health summary in case of a medical emergency, thanks to a new service called Heartbeat.

The free referral-based health and wellness programme has been running in New Zealand for 20 years and has helped support thousands of people improve their health and wellbeing.

When a patient books their travel insurance through Cover-More Travel Insurance they’re given the option of signing up to Heartbeat – a free service that allows a patient to access a copy of their health summary, and other important travel documents, on their smartphone or online.

The patient is given a link to create a Heartbeat account and a password, and their GP is then electronically notified. The GP receives a request to send the patient a copy of their health summary via HealthLink’s new Heartbeat form.

Heartbeat founder and director Jamie Coltman says the Heartbeat form is quick and easy for GPs to fill out. Launched in September, feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The patient’s information is pre-populated into the specially designed form, so only takes a couple of minutes to fill out the relevant information,” Jamie says.

“By using HealthLink’s platform, we know the transfer of patient information is 100% secure.”

Heartbeat includes information about the patient’s medical history, medications, current conditions, allergies and other pertinent health information.

“Kiwis are huge travellers and love going on adventures overseas, but unfortunately disaster can strike in the form of sickness, accidents or lost medication,” he says.

“If something happens overseas, the health summary can be given to medical staff to help speed up treatment and avoid mistakes.”


Consultation opportunity

Once the GP receives the request, they know the patient is travelling overseas.

“This gives the GP the opportunity to make an appointment to talk about vaccinations and medication and have a check-up to make sure the patient is travel-ready,” Jamie says.

He says lots of people forget or lose their medication when travelling, so having a record of it at their fingertips makes it so much easier to replace.

“Traditionally people had to carry lots of paper documents when travelling, now it’s much easier with Heartbeat because all of their documents including their health summary, passport details and insurance details can be stored securely online in one easy to access place,” he says.

In a medical emergency, it can sometimes take days for medical records to be accessed from New Zealand. If given prior permission, Cover-More Travel Insurance can access a patient’s Heartbeat information if the patient is incapacitated.

“This is going to change the way people travel for the better.”


How to use:

  • open the patient record
  • launch the HealthLink homepage
  • click on the “Heartbeat Health Summary” link
  • verify the information on the form by clicking on each of the tabs and click “Submit”.