Forums around NZ: Single platform (e.g., Health Forum NZ) or not?

Feel free to edit:

Features Facebook WhatsApp Trello Email
open source Y N N N
NZ hosted Y N N Y/N
customisable Highly Limited N ? N
secure Y Y/N Y Variable
verified membership Y possible ? Y
no cost Y Y Y Y
Advert Free Y N Y Y
Mobile Y Y Y Y
Member created Y N N N N
Private categories Y ?/N ?/N N
Umbrella platform Y N N N
Private Message capacity Y Y Y Y
Content search/filter capacity Y Y/N Y/N Y/N
Productive & Efficient Y Y/N Y/N Y/N
Threads tagged Y N N N
Member moderated Y Y N Y
Summary notifications Y N N N
Member poll capacity Y Y N N
Wiki capacity Y N N N
Capacity for >250K members Y Y ? n/a
Independent Y N N Y?
Non-commercial Y N ? ?
Familiarity moderate easy easy easy

You can use Markdown to make this as a table, and Wiki it so that we can keep it as a ‘living document’.

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Re bottom row of the table, I would argue that FB is not easy as most of us don’t have the ability to determine what FB shows us. It changes settings regularly without users knowing and even when they are adjusted to one’s preference, it is still likely that things will be missed or difficult to find again once they have been seen.


So cool!!! And, this site made it really easy . . did this in about 7minutes. Yahoo!!


I’ve just had a good chat with @bruce, who has told me that @_medical-students have well established Facebook groups - one for each year.

I forgot to ask if they are school specific, or across both Otago and Auckland.

They would certainly be welcome to come and check us out and decide which best fits their needs.

They’re school and year specific (to the year you’re due to graduate) e.g. Otago Med Class of 2021

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Kia ora koutou- I’m thinking of PM some of the moderators/admin of the various FB groups I’ve just become aware of. Would you please list the groups you are aware of? If you personally know the admin/moderators, please let me know and I can name-drop (with your permission)?

Here’s list I’ve become aware of:

COVID - Aus + NZ Doctors Discuss

COVID-19 New Zealand Doctors

NZ Women in Medicine

GPs for GPs


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Already posted in:
GPs for GPs
Pinnacle GPS


Thanks! I’ve group-messenger admins of a few of these FB groups, without much success: 1 admin is on here and not finding user-friendly; also highlighting many people on FB for social reasons, so best to stay in 1 ecosystem, rather than remember separate login. All very understandable, logical points.

I now think that we just keep highlighting this platform as an option, discuss benefits, see who joins and finds useful, and if this grass-roots has enough members who are enthusiastic, then there can be more public push to have wide-spread adoption. Well see :wink:

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We have a local FB group like GP in BOP called Northland GP for Northland GP. I am endeavouring to establish moderators

Hmm . . . just got feedback black background off putting . . . should we swap, see if increases users?!?! Then, later, poll to see if we should go back and save planet??

as this forum was started by anaesthetists, we have been focusing a lot of the endpoints of the disease and how to deal with it.

but what about the frontline staff? how can the medical community help those in general practice and public health?

I feel the one critical thing that this country is lacking is reliable information on various platforms. Do you know how many spam whatsapp I’ve received? People are getting their information from Whatsapp/Facebook and so they know better than the govt who only talks to them for 5 mins a day.

I am happy to help launch a youtube channel etc … (noob at this)



Improved teamwork and collaboration between primary and secondary/tertiary care clinicians would be an excellent outcome from this forum, and from COVID-19.

There are many different platforms already sharing excellent information. Health Navigator NZ is a great place to start for everyone - both patients and clinicians: Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak | Health Navigator NZ


You’re right, we do need more GP’s Practice Nurses and front line staff. We have a place here for GP and Practice Nurses so if you have any great ideas or ways of getting more of them joining please feel free to post or let them know.

I would agree. Most users also don’t know how to change the privacy and security settings on Facebook so although it appears easy to use its not as easy to get right!

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Here is an excellent Blog discussing the way that Discourse compares, contrasts, and combines with group chat services (such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Teams, Slack, etc):

And here is another piece by @hawk from Discourse, on how Discourse and Facebook(et al) compare. This is absolutely critical, as Facebook Groups have really emerged in this last week or so as our chief competition:


Thanks for the blog posts - this is indeed the challenge - FB or Forum - and if Forum how do you make it successful? I like the learning from success points laid out in the attached blogs.

The Covid-19 FB group for doctors (Aussie and NZ) is overrun with information that I don’t need or wish to read. It is hard to navigate what I see, as the algorithm used seems to serve me up stuff in some crazy fashion - so I am not sure I am reading all the stuff I want to. At times I get very tired of having to wade through the tirades - admittedly most of them relating to Australia - but there are good lessons in there (if you have the FB fortitude/fatigue ratio set correctly :slightly_smiling_face:.

I find it hard to see the Covid-19 FB page other than an outlet to vent ones frustrations, with many comments that are not helpful, and a lot of re-posting of press articles often of little value in my view. There seems to be little in the way of working together to provide solutions to the crisis we find ourselves in.

NZ is little and collaboration should be our forte - however, in my view egos, and the way we have been made to compete for funding and voice within our country have led us to be parsimonious with our sharing - little bits are shared so we appear to contribute - but not enough to stifle our career, research or whatever else we fear is at stake.

What I have truly admired Dr Ashley Bloomfield for - has been his ability to work with the clunky system of the many DHBs we have, and get things to work. He has done so by relentlessly sticking to the same message, if it doesn’t seem to get through then he will take action to address the delivery, but he keeps the message the same

Ashley has managed to listen to feedback and incorporate the learning’s he has had without taking personal offense at the questions posed to him. He turns the constant questions or criticisms to his advantage and uses them to better the service delivery of health to NZers by the Ministry of Health. This is what true feedback, reflection and learning from mistakes is - blameless.

I never thought I would say it - but I am proud of the MoH in NZ. I am really pleased that we in NZ have such a good leader as Ashley Bloomfield who listens to criticism, turns it to inquiry and then improvement - the best example I have ever seen within health of quality improvement in action (and I think of many “committees” I have been in previously).

This Health Forum NZ platform - could be a great tool for someone like Ashley to communicate through, and listen to what is happening on the ground with health in NZ form NZers - and shape our health system for the future.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the information informing the MoH came from us, from this Forum, the health workers of NZ - not merely via the reporters at a regular press conference who’s aims to criticize our Director of Public Health have been turned into an information gathering exercise from a very clever leader…

These are my thoughts,


You are so right, Pam. That was a key component of my vision when setting up this whole thing - providing horizontal communication across health in NZ at the same time as enabling bidirectional communication with the MoH. Might still happen one day if enough people get on board and drive it.


Hey Emily, what are your current thoughts about the place of Facebook vs Health Forum NZ? Facebook certainly seems to be winning on the popularity front!

@nathan @emily.gill
I believe still two differing needs and FB working because of habit and interest from GP but remains “cluttered “ And often personal and difficult to track specific subjects

“Slowly slowly catch the monkey”

We have had affirmation from a number of people about perceived benefit of forum over FB



A post was merged into an existing topic: Peer-group sub-categories on what do you think?