Tele-Medicine

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Telehealth in Canada

Caption: courtesy of "Boots"

Tele-reach is very important in rural and remote locations where even basic healthcare is often inadequate. For example, Aboriginal communities in northern Canada may have limited access to healthcare services. People with medical emergencies need to be transferred to distant regional medical centers for definitive medical care. Healthcare professionals may use Tele-medicine for the electronic access of lab results and diagnostic imaging and for diagnostic, treatment, and patient management video consultations [1]. Tele-health refers to preventative medical service used primarily as a basic consultation tool for patient well-being.

Tele-health and Tele-medicine in Canada has been in different stages of development and discussion since the late 1970s [2]. Tele-medicine networks have been established in Ontario and Alberta by their provincial governments to aid the Aboriginal communities in the far north of Canada. As there is no existing federal legislation regulating Tele-medical services, the provincial governments of Ontario and Alberta have developed legislation to support the Tele-medicine networks, which has set a precedent for other provinces to follow [3].

The case of Tele-medicine in Canada demonstrates that public and government support is required for the successful and sustainable implementation of a Tele-reach solution. In Canada, policy makers must understand the medical care challenges specific to the communities in northern Canada. Effective Tele-medicine services require healthcare professionals to work closely with local communities to help surpass cultural and social barriers .[3] Furthermore, to sustain funding and ensure reliable provision of service, clearly communicated and transparent policy is needed at the national level.

References

  1. [1], TeleHealth – First Nations, Inuit and Aboriginal Health – Health Canada.
  2. [Telemedicine in Northern Quebec], CMA Journal, Volume 127, pp. 707-709.
  3. 3.0 3.1 [Interview], DRUDI, L. 24th January 2012. TeleMedicine in Canada.