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Jun 15
2010

Bringing house calls into the 21st century

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TeleVisit is a new high-tech system that allows healthcare workers to conduct ‘virtual visits’ with patients …

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and the RUIS McGill are proud to announce the integration of telehealth services into the National Program for Home Ventilatory Assistance (NPHVA). Televisit is a new high-tech system that allows healthcare workers to conduct ‘virtual visits’ to patients, through live video communications. This particular system also permits the transmission of physiological data in real-time to aid in the assessment of patient health. The integration of this new service will improve access to specialized care for both pediatric and adult patients, particularly in remote areas of the RUIS McGill, and other regions of Quebec.

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Televisit on Global News

Developed specifically for this purpose by Quebec-based company PHD Medical, Televisit will allow the NPHVA care team to monitor and interact with patients through a two-way video link in real-time. The system is also designed to remotely receive and assess important physiological information about the patient, including blood pressure, body temperature, weight, and can measure cardiac and respiratory sounds with the use of a digital stethoscope. This new ability to “stay connected” will help support local community healthcare workers who follow these patients regularly in their own community, and who are often unfamiliar with the specialized needs and equipment used by this patient population.

“Patients are referred to the NPHVA program from all regions of Quebec and generally suffer from a neuromuscular disease or spinal cord injury that makes it very difficult for them to visit their medical team in person,” explains Rita Troini, Director of the NPHVA Televisit Project. “With this new system of ‘virtual visits’, the care team will be able to remotely assess the condition of the patient, without the patient leaving their own home.  It represents a great step forward in treating patients that require complex care in remote areas.”

“We are proud to support the NPHVA program,” says Johanne Desrochers, RUIS McGill Telehealth co-chair and MUHC Associate Director for Telehealth. “Telehealth facilitates communication between healthcare specialists and patients and we are very pleased to be able to do so in a new and revolutionary way.”  Since 2009, 26 patients have received televisits, real-time access to a team of specialists directly from their home, while another ten have had a  teleconsultation with a NPHVA professional from the nearest health centre.

“Quebecers need and deserve exemplary healthcare services and support delivered at the right time and place, and when possible within one’s home,” explains the Hon. Arthur T. Porter, President of the RUIS McGill and MUHC Director General and CEO. “By integrating telehealth capabilities into the NPHVA, we assure that ultra-specialized and complex care is available across the vast expanse of territory that is the RUIS McGill. This project is a model of excellence that is directly aligned with the RUIS’ service objectives.”

Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) has provided approximately $480,000 in funding to the project. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government.Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of electronic health record projects in Canada.

“Telehealth services provide a vital link to specialist services that previously just didn’t exist for many rural and remote patients,” said Louise Beauchesne, Executive Regional Director, Quebec Region, Canada Health Infoway. “Systems like the NPHVA’s telehealth program make a real difference to the quality, timeliness and comfort in accessing health care for patients who need complex care.”

NPHVA telehealth activities, like those of the MUHC and the RUIS McGill, are supported by the MUHC Telehealth Coordination Centre.  The main objective of the Centre is to promote access to and the continuity of quality health care and social services through the use of new information and communications technologies (NICT). Financial support for this project was provided by Canada Health Infoway and the Ministère de la santé et des Services sociaux du Québec.

view source @ McGill University Health Center