This article was published in The West End Times June 4, 2011.
Imagine miles away a physician listens to a student’s chest and diagnoses asthmatic bronchitis. The child has never left the school. The doctor has never left his office. The school nurse has information for the parents who do not have to take the child to the doctor. This is just example of a case in the Berrien School System in the US pilot participation in a telemed program. The med clinic allows students to see a doctor while at school and the doctor is in his office. The med clinic works similar to a walk-in clinic but no one misses school or work. The child is called from class when it is his turn to see the doctor. Teachers, faculty and administration are all eligible to participate resulting in less time off work and better care. I won’t go in to all of the details but I think you get the picture.
There are many such initiatives here in Canada but I still wait for the move in Quebec. Isolated pockets of individuals seem to see the value and potential but mostly I just shake my head in wonder. I was recently at a conference on “Nursing, Information Technology and the Future” at the Jewish General Hospital. I was very impressed that they dedicated the day to Telehealth and the future for health care. It seems as if they are exploring options that seem promising. One Doctor presented and was happy to tell us about how he can call up an X-ray of his patients at the bedside. How good is that?? No more lost charts, misplaced reports, wasted time looking for things and all of this with the added advantage of multiuser access to information.
Currently in Ontario there are three large telehealth networks in operation, which provide clinical health services across the province. The three networks work collaboratively to maximize the use of resources and support over 80 clinical areas in over 200 sites. None of this seems like rocket science but it is a different way of providing health care for less money to more people and with better access to care. I don’t get it. What is with us here in Quebec?
As you may know I have conducted research using technology to remotely monitor people with chronic diseases. The results indicated that individuals learned about their disease and were therefore better able to manage their health. Although the results were striking, I cannot even give this service away. Am I wrong to believe that people want to be Healthy? After my recent experience with the health care system reinforced my belief that it is a SICK, sick care system, I still shake my head in disbelief. When will we ever learn? Monitoring, education and prevention are the way to go.
I am working with one organization that wants to keep the residents healthy and strong. It is a residence for autonomous seniors “The Wellesley” here on the West Island. Health Access and a Quebec technology company “Tele-Medic” are working with the team there to provide monitoring and teaching using a multiuser technology. Our nurse spends time at the Wellesley taking vital signs at our kiosk. Results of the monitoring can be viewed remotely. This project can include Electronic Health Records with the graphed and numeric results of the resident’s readings. It is possible for families and doctors to receive this information. I am convinced that this is the future and I am happy to see that the leaders at the Wellesley have embarked on this pilot with us.
I will continue to plug along, still convinced that we can have a better system, we can be healthier, we can save money. I would love to hear your health care stories or thoughts about how we are doing.
Thoughts, comments, suggestions are always welcome.
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Health Access, Home and Nursing care
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