Joseph Lefort was presented with a certificate marking his participation in the 10

Joseph Lefort was presented with a certificate marking his participation in the 10

VIHA marks milestone in Port Hardy

Resident Joseph Lefort takes part in 10,000th Telehealth consultation from Port Hardy.

PORT HARDY—Port Hardy’s Joseph Lefort attended his regular monthly appointment with Nanaimo Regional General Hospital renal specialist Dr. Anthony Booth last Tuesday, just as he has done for the past year or so.

But this time he was joined by VIHA executives, IT specialists, media representatives and Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham. And he did it all without leaving town.

Lefort’s video consultation marked the milestone 10,000th use of Telehealth in VIHA since its introduction in 2007.

“It sure beats a lot of travelling,” Lefort said of the technology. “It feels the same as being in a room in Nanaimo, but a couple of hundred miles closer.”

Telehealth is still an emerging technology but its development could have a major impact on how healthcare is delivered in the future — particularly for the North Island and other rural areas.

With 48 participating sites across 18 communities on Vancouver Island, the system allows patients to access specialist care from their local hospital. Since its inception, VIHA estimates that use of the system has saved some 50,000 hours of patient travel time.

“This is really significant,” said Mayor Parnham, a member of the Mount Waddington Health Network. “Travel (for medical visits) can be a huge drain on families. Quite often it leads to families leaving our communities.”

Through the system a patient in Port Hardy, for example, can travel to the local hospital and be connected with a specialist in Victoria, saving a seven-hour trip each way — and the associated costs — for what may be a 10-minute consultation.

At the last public Health Network Forum in Port Hardy, the travel barrier was cited as a contributing factor to the region’s poor health statistics. Time, cost, inconvenience, access to a suitable vehicle and winter road conditions all add up to missed appointments and consultations. In turn, chronic conditions go undiagnosed and untreated.

Telehealth is seen as part of the remedy to this particular malady, through bringing healthcare to the patient.

While oncology was the first field to take advantage of the system when it was introduced, an increasing number of other specializations have become involved in the system, as was made evident by Tuesday’s milestone. Providers in thoracics, cardiology and mental health, among others, have now joined the Telehealth program within VIHA.

Complimentary technology has and continues to be developed to facilitate these consultations. In the case of cardiology for instance, a nurse can use a digital stethoscope on the patient while a specialist hundreds of miles away can hear the heartbeat and direct the placement of the stethoscope using a chest diagram and pointer.

For more information on Telehealth programs see www.viha.ca/telehealth.

 

Just Posted

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

A view of the outside of St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral on Victoria’s Blanshard Street. (Don Denton/News staff)
Vancouver Island bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon of the Diocese of Victoria voices commitment to healing and reconciliation

Most Read