|Original News Release|
· Telehealth videoconferencing technology is now in place in more than 66 communities in B.C., encompassing nearly 125 dedicated sites in B.C.’s health-care facilities, compared to 11 communities in 2001. Access points to telehealth services are located in hospitals, health centres, mental health centres and several child development centres.
· Expansion of the telehealth program is part of the government’s commitment to improve rural and remote residents’ access to health services and specialists.
· Telehealth services are available in approximately 20 clinical program areas, including oncology, mental health/psychiatry, maternal/fetal medicine, medical genetics, orthopedics, pharmacy, thoracic surgery, trauma, and wound care, as well as special services for children.
· Examples of provincial telehealth initiatives include:
o The telehealth programs at BC Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital & Health Centre of BC use videoconferencing to provide clinical consultations, continuing medical and professional education and administrative sessions to B.C. communities.
o A retinopathy screening program for First Nations people with diabetes has been implemented through the Chiefs’ Health Committee and Carrier Sekani First Nations, in partnership with the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Vancouver Hospital UBC Eye Care Centre, and local on-reserve community health centres.
o A telepharmacy application links Cranbrook and Fernie, and Kamloops, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House. As well, digitized films from Invermere and Fernie can be sent to the orthopedic surgeon's office or to the regional hospital in Cranbrook.
o Pediatric cardiac rounds occur between Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Island Health for patient case review and planning of treatment options.
o Wound management is facilitated through telehealth in Fraser Health, Interior Health and Vancouver Coastal Health.
o Northern Health uses telehealth to support a number of areas such as mental health, genetic counseling, pediatric cardiology, and maternal fetal medicine. Plans are also in place to introduce a telepharmacy solution and to provide thoracic surgery clinics via videoconference.
o PHSA works closely with the other health authorities and facilitates access to its tertiary-level specialist services via telehealth in areas such as maternal fetal medicine, obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology, child rehabilitation and mental health.
Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Health
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