P.E.I. Western Hospital Ward Fully Staffed By Remote Doctors Amid Shortage Of Physicians
2018-12-03 from huffiintonpost.ca
Once faced with the threat of closure, a rural hospital in P.E.I is now thriving despite not having any doctors working within its walls.
Patients on the acute care ward at Western Hospital in Alberton are the first in Canada to receive care exclusively from doctors appearing via television screen.
Called "tele-rounding," it's a pilot project spearheaded by Toronto-based telemedicine company Maple, and it allows patients without a family physician to access real-time treatment from doctors across the country.
Doctors do daily rounds, appearing on carts that are wheeled from room to room by the hospital's nurses. Digital tools allow doctors to monitor vitals, order tests, access patient records, and make referrals.
"Everything is basically exactly like what you would see on normal hospital rounds, the only difference is that the doctor is on a monitor versus the doctor physically standing in that room," Maple CEO and emergency room physician Brett Belchetz told HuffPost Canada.
Two physicians have been hired for the area served by Western Hospital and will begin practising in 2019, but Dr. André Celliers, Health PEI's executive director of medical affairs, said telemedicine has helped patients receive good care in the interim.
"While the tele-rounding pilot is not intended to permanently replace the on-site role of our physicians, it has proven to be an excellent bridging resource to support in-patient care at the hospital while we recruited family physicians to the region," he said in a press release.
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