TELEHEALTH SERVICES NOW AVAILABLE IN GIMLI AND HODGSON
– – – Residents Able to Access Medical Experts Closer to Home
September 6, 2012—Residents in Gimli and Hodgson and surrounding areas can now access greater medical expertise and health-care support closer to home with the addition of two new Manitoba telehealth sites to the provincial network, Premier Selinger announced today at Gimli’s Johnson Memorial Hospital.
“This important technology links medical experts and health-support professionals with Manitobans who need them, enabling people to stay in their home communities while getting high-quality, professional medical advice,” said Selinger. “It also helps patients by reducing the time, expense and inconvenience associated with travel.
“With the two new sites at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Gimli and Hodgson Renal Health Centre, we’ve now established 124 MBTelehealth sites. We’re now hosting over 16,000 MBTelehealth network events in a year. MBTelehealth is a successful pairing of technology with community-based medical care.”
MBTelehealth uses live, interactive videoconferencing via a high-speed, secure link to support the delivery of specialized health-care services, continuing education and administrative connections between urban, rural and Northern communities across Manitoba. More than 300 specialists provide services in over 60 different specialty areas as varied as oncology, dermatology and renal health. Specialized equipment connected to the system allows physicians to listen to a person’s lungs over the network with a digital stethoscope or zoom in on a skin condition with a patient camera, enabling thorough assessments along with one-on-one communication.
“In addition to the numerous health benefits, our studies show that Manitobans are driving almost a million less kilometres annually to travel to face-to-face health-care appointments, which translates to a savings of $2.6 million per year. We’re also saving more than $1 million in staff time and travel each year, and those funds are being redirected to improvements in other areas of health care,” said Selinger.
“MBTelehealth brings health-care services to families in every corner of the province that at one time were only offered in urban centres,” said Roger Girard, chief information officer, Manitoba eHealth. “This innovative service can reduce the stress and expense for patients and their loved ones because they can be treated at health facilities where they live and don’t have to travel long distances to get care. Our goal is to continue increasing the network’s reach to connect providers with their patients at a distance.”
Doreen Fey, vice-president of primary care of the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority identified MBTelehealth as a link for rural residents to support networks that have typically been difficult to establish outside of Winnipeg.
“We know that people living with chronic diseases or families caring for someone with special needs are better able to manage care when they are connected with a support group of people experiencing the same thing. The MBTelehealth units become a line to a healthier and more enjoyable life with support that may not be accessible locally,” said Fey.
Established in 2001 with funding from Health Canada, Manitoba Health and the regional health authorities in Manitoba, MBTelehealth is now a division of Manitoba eHealth which is operated through the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
Health Canada continues to be a significant MBTelehealth partner, with approximately one-quarter of the sites being in First Nation communities.