Telemedicine Northern Canadian Reality

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Thanks to tele-visitation, Christopher and Jillian Courtis, who travelled to Thunder Bay for the birth of their twins, were able to visit with the babies’ great-grandparents in Rainy River.
Thanks to tele-visitation, Christopher and Jillian Courtis, who travelled to Thunder Bay for the birth of their twins, were able to visit with the babies’ great-grandparents in Rainy River.

Ornge Air AmbulanceTHUNDER BAY – New Rochelle, NY  — Congestive heart failure, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are three of the leading causes of death in the U.S. The use of telemedicine to help manage chronic diseases such as these can yield clear benefits including fewer and shorter hospital stays, fewer emergency room visits, less severe illness, and even fewer deaths, as reported in a study published in Telemedicine and e-Health, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Telemedicine and e-Health website until October 10, 2014.

The use of telemedicine in Northern Canadian communities is a regular part of medical treatment, as small communities across Northwestern Ontario, and Northern parts of Canada do not have the population base to support hospitals, and many communities do not have a full-time doctor.

One of the added realities of Northern Canadian healthcare is the important access to reliable air ambulance services.

Rashid Bashshur, PhD, Gary Shannon, PhD, and Brian Smith, MS, led a team of clinicians and researchers from the U.S. and Canada that included Telemedicine and e-Health Co-Editors-in-Chief Charles R. Doarn, MBA, and Ronald C. Merrell, MD, in the study entitled “The Empirical Foundations of Telemedicine Interventions for Chronic Disease Management.” The advantages enabled by telemedicine derive from its ability to help patients become more involved in their own care, facilitate continuous monitoring and early detection of new and recurring symptoms, and allow for prompt responses to worsening illness.

Thanks to tele-visitation, Christopher and Jillian Courtis, who travelled to Thunder Bay for the birth of their twins, were able to visit with the babies’ great-grandparents in Rainy River.
Thanks to tele-visitation, Christopher and Jillian Courtis, who travelled to Thunder Bay for the birth of their twins, were able to visit with the babies’ great-grandparents in Rainy River.

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has embraced telemedicine and televisitation.

“The integration of telemedicine into healthcare adds great value in managing chronic disease both for patient and provider,” says Co-Editor-in-Chief Charles R. Doarn, MBA, Research Professor of Family and Community Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Ohio. “Dr. Bashshur has presented this work to both the U.S. Congress and the Congressional Budget Office, and with concomitant efforts by the American Telemedicine Association and others, the Congress may finally move telemedicine forward as an important element in healthcare for all Americans.”