Written by Christy Lamarche, Leader, Virtual Care, Clinical Information, Transformation and Innovation (CITI)

We celebrate Digital Health Week and recognize how virtual care is transforming the delivery of care across Fraser Health.

The virtual care portfolio in Fraser Health is working to transform the way health care is delivered by supporting the integration of technology into daily operations. The Clinical Information, Transformation and Innovation portfolio, under the leadership of Megan Stowe, Chief Clinical Information Officer and Dr. Darryl Samoil, Chief Medical Information Officer, is removing barriers and improving access to services by enabling a seamless experience regardless of distance, location or time.

A number of solutions are currently in place, or under development, in virtual care, for example:

  • Electrophysiologists are using Skype for Business at Royal Columbian Hospital to link with cardiac patients admitted at Abbotsford Regional Hospital for clinical consultations. Surrey Memorial Hospital cardiac unit staff have recently been trained, and more sites will be added in the new year.
  • Led by Dr, Josh Greggain and the team in Fraser East, care for First Nations patients in Boston Bar is being provided by a virtual clinic when in person appointments are not available.
  • Development of an evaluation plan is underway to support the Burnaby Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Clinic nurses who provide virtual nursing education to patients living in Abbotsford region. The evaluation of virtual care is an important component to support expansion throughout the Fraser Health region.

Other initiatives currently in progress include:

  • Award of a Canadian Foundation for Health Care Improvement Grant to collaborate with the Surrey North Delta Divisions of Family Practice and Doctors of BC to spread the RACEapp (Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise application)
  • Supporting the After Hours Palliative Care program to implement the use of Skype for Business to better support patients and families
  • Supporting the evolution of Telepsychiatry at Royal Columbian Hospital in partnership with the Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment project
  • Collaborating with First Nations Health Authority to virtually support Mental Health and Substance Use clients in the Fraser Salish Region
  • Partnership in TEC4Home, a four year initiative funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and Michael Smith Foundation for Heath Research, with matching funding from the BC Ministry of Health and an industry partnership with TELUS Health. Fraser Health sites will explore home health monitoring for Heart Failure as they transition from acute care to home.
  • Exploration to support patients with Inflammatory Arthritis to gain real-time access to care from their homes rather than travelling to Surrey Memorial Hospital
  • Support continues to be given to allow Fraser Health Grand Rounds and UBC educational sessions to be accessed remotely

The virtual care team is committed to supporting the integration of virtual care into your day to day practice. Visit our FH Pulse page or contact us at virtualcare@fraserhealth.ca to determine how your service can be transformed through the use of technology.

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