Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Connecting you to the care you need

It is very common, whether it’s in the diagnostic or treatment phase, for patients to need to see a specialist. Many specialists set up their practices in densely populated areas in order to see as many patients as possible. This means that some of our patients have to wait months for an appointment and also travel a distance in order to see a specialist.

At Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, we are always looking for ways to improve our patients’ care and one way to bring care closer to home is through the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). The OTN is one of the largest telemedicine networks in the world and is connected to both of our hospital sites. It uses two-way videoconferencing that allows patients to virtually meet with specialists in a timely fashion. Instead of having to endure the time and expense and sometimes the risk of travelling, our patients are able to get the care they need without leaving their community.

If your family doctor recommends that you see a specialist, you can ask them if the specialist is available by OTN. You can also contact the telemedicine coordinators at each of our hospital sites to help arrange your appointment. The coordinators, who are also Registered Nurses, will send the specialist all of your information and test results prior to the videoconference and will attend the conference with you to provide clinical care and clarification. During the videoconference, you will be able to speak to the doctor as if they are in the room with you. You can ask questions, tell them about your symptoms and discuss treatment options. Family members are also welcome to attend to offer support.

Our patients not only have the opportunity to speak with their specialists without having to travel, but they also benefit from the support of our team of healthcare professionals. The technology is very easy to use and we have been getting very positive feedback from patients who have accessed this service.

For more information about the Ontario Telemedicine Network, please visit www.otn.ca. To learn more about other services offered at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, please visit our website at www.mahc.ca.

RNs Cindy Childerhose and Jan Venturelli are the Ontario Telemedicine Coordinators
at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare