Telehealth uses videoconferencing and supporting technologies to put patients in touch with health professionals across distances. It is especially useful in remote areas where patients have to travel long distances to meet health professionals. For patients it:
- reduces the travel burden, particularly for elderly people and those with young children;
- provides access to a wider range of specialist advice and services; and
- deliver faster, more efficient health care by using technology to remove the distance barrier;
Telehealth can also:
- be used for general health promotion, and continuing professional education, when the participants are in separate locations;
- reduce CO2 emissions by reducing distance traveled by physicians and patients;
- improve recruitment and retention of staff (less isolation/greater satisfaction, continuing professional development) in rural and remote locations; and
- make communications between professionals easier and improve team-based approaches to care between different health care providers around B.C.
In 2008 the Ministry of Health has formed a Telehealth Office to facilitate the design and implementation of Telehealth solutions. The Office collaborates with Telehealth experts, information technology leaders, University of British Columbia School of Medicine, Health Authority and First Nations representatives from across the Province. Previous experiences and lessons learned in implementing Telehealth systems in other Canadian jurisdictions are leveraged.
Telehealth Videos (Courtesy of VIHA)
Peter, who lives in Port Hardy, needs to consult with a cancer specialist in Victoria. Instead of driving for 12 hours he has Telehealth session at a hospital facility in Port Hardy where the specialist performs a live, two-way remote consultation and provides treatment option, care plans, counselling, and follow up care.
eHealth will provide
- secure and authorized access to health records from anywhere in the province
- physicians better access to patient records
- consolidated lab results - your tests online for your caregiver when you need them
- enhanced PharmaNet improved patient safety
- X-rays, CT scans and MRIs online for your caregiver
- health services over distance - TeleHealth, in rural and remote areas and for First Nations
- improved public health service delivery to the public