Interior Health celebrates 10th anniversary of telehealth

There is the potential to save rural patients time and money for travel

Dr. John Soles speaks during a recent meeting.

Interior Health is marking an important milestone, according to a recent press release – the 10th anniversary of the introduction of telehealth.

“The thoracic telehealth service that is discussed in the press release has been quite beneficial to patients in the North Thompson who need thoracic surgery,” said Dr. John Soles of Clearwater. “It usually saves them at least one trip to Kelowna and sometimes more.”

According to Soles, there will always be some need to travel for medical care. However, he was hopeful that, in the future, there will be more medical services provided from distant sites in similar fashion.

“There is the potential to save rural patients time and money for travel as well as reducing the risks of crashing traveling long distances to appointments,” he said.

On Dec. 15-16, 2003, the first telehealth videoconference consultations in IH took place when Kelowna-based surgeons from the B.C. Thoracic Surgery Program linked with patients in Cranbrook and Trail to conduct initial surgical assessments and post-operative follow ups. Thoracic surgery is treatment for serious illness of the lung or throat.

In the decade since, nearly 11,300 thoracic patients have received telehealth care at 54 different hospitals and health care sites, saving patients more than 8.4 million km in travel. The program has reached beyond Interior Health to patients in communities throughout B.C., including approximately 2,500 from Northern Health.

“Telehealth technology helps ensure that patients have access to high-quality health care services they need without travelling hundreds of kilometres to access specialist services,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “For patients and families who live outside major centres, this program can make a big difference by supporting faster diagnoses and better health outcomes.”

IH offers telehealth in three ways: through direct patient consultation via videoconferencing, the upload of photographs to a health authority-wide system, or through Home Health monitoring, where patients “check in” from their homes.

Since its introduction, the telehealth program has grown to include more than 20 different medical fields, with nearly 55,000 patient uses per year throughout Interior Health. This includes everything from surgical consults, to wound treatment, to renal care.

“Telehealth technology has changed the way Interior Health is able to deliver health care, and its use continues to grow,” said Interior Health board chair Norman Embree. “Today, 30 per cent of all thoracic practice in Interior Health is performed via telehealth.”

 

Patients are able to reach beyond Interior Health, as well. For instance, patients with high-risk pregnancies are able to consult with physicians at B.C. Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Vancouver via tele-ultrasounds.

 

 

Just Posted

Lacarya ladies golf report for July 10

Weather gods kindly provided a dry afternoon so 15 ladies could play at Lacarya Golf Course

NDP candidate wants to make communities more affordable

Gina Myhill-Jones also counts rich volunteer experience as an asset to her potential as a politician

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Wells Gray gets voice on provincial tourism council

TWG marketing manager Stephanie Molina recently appointed to Minister’s Tourism Engagement Council

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read