LHIN utilizing Telemedicine technology
More residents living in the Erie St. Clair (ESC) LHIN will benefit from specialist care closer to home as the ESC LHIN hires 15 new telemedicine nurses to expand care delivery.
For patients, this means improved access to health care, less travel, and an increase in the types of health care services available at more than 72 active sites across the ESC LHIN.
The newly hired telemedicine nurses will use the latest technology for virtual patient consultations, assessments, training and knowledge exchange. Using telemedicine, health care professionals are able to deliver clinical care using live, two-way videoconferencing systems and related diagnostic equipment. Patients and health care practitioners are able to speak together and information such as blood pressure, respiratory function and test results can be instantaneously transmitted.
In the ESC LHIN, initiatives are underway to improve access to health care using Telemedicine technology. To help reduce dermatologist referral wait-times, seven health service providers across Erie St. Clair are piloting a new initiative, Otn.teledermSF®, which reduces the average referral return rate for a dermatology consultation from 9 months, to a matter of days. At an Otn.teledermSF® appointment, digital photographs of your skin condition will be taken and uploaded to a secure encrypted server. An Ontario-based dermatologist will review the information, make a diagnosis, and send treatment recommendations to your doctor. Based on the suggested treatment plan, your doctor will follow up with you accordingly. For the patient, this means less travel and improved access to care.
“This is a great example of how technology is making access to care better in our communities,” stated Gary Switzer, CEO, Erie St. Clair LHIN. “A patient waiting 9 months to have a skin condition assessed can cause much anxiety and stress; being able to dramatically lower these wait times will ease the minds of people needing this specialized care and improving their overall experience with our health care system.”
Another new initiative called Otn.Telesteth™, will better support cardiac patients in Erie St. Clair. Through this new technology, patients can have the sounds of their heart, lung, and airways transmitted in real time to a specialist located anywhere across the province. Sounds are transmitted over a secure internet connection, allowing physicians to evaluate the patient remotely. For patients who are either unable to travel or can’t afford to travel, OTN TeleSteth™ System provides timely and convenient access to care. In Sarnia/Lambton, the North Lambton Community Health Centre has been a successful pilot for this new technology. Bluewater Health and the Erie St. Clair CCAC will also start providing remote cardiac assessments through Otn.Telesteth™.
Telemedicine services are made available through OTN, a world leader in telemedicine. OTN facilitates the delivery of care for patients in hundreds of health care locations across the province, as well as distance education and meetings for health care professionals and patients. An independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Ontario, OTN is committed to improving access and quality of care.