MUHC brings "house calls" into the 21st century

Televisit is a new high-tech system that allows healthcare workers to conduct ‘virtual visits’ to patients

June 15, 2010 (Montreal, QC) – The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and the RUIS McGill are proud to announce the integration of telehealth services into the National Program for Home Ventilatory Assistance (NPHVA).

Televisit is a new high-tech system that allows healthcare workers to conduct ‘virtual visits’ to patients, through live video communications. This particular system also permits the transmission of physiological data in real-time to aid in the assessment of patient health. The integration of this new service will improve access to specialized care for both pediatric and adult patients, particularly in remote areas of the RUIS McGill, and other regions of Quebec.

Developed specifically for this purpose by Quebec-based company PHD Medical, Televisit will allow the NPHVA care team to monitor and interact with patients through a two-way video link in real-time. The system is also designed to remotely receive and assess important physiological information about the patient, including blood pressure, body temperature, weight, and can measure cardiac and respiratory sounds with the use of a digital stethoscope. This new ability to "stay connected" will help support local community healthcare workers who follow these patients regularly in their own community, and who are often unfamiliar with the specialized needs and equipment used by this patient population.

"Patients are referred to the NPHVA program from all regions of Quebec and generally suffer from a neuromuscular disease or spinal cord injury that makes it very difficult for them to visit their medical team in person," explains Rita Troini, Director of the NPHVA Televisit Project. "With this new system of ‘virtual visits’, the care team will be able to remotely assess the condition of the patient, without the patient leaving their own home. It represents a great step forward in treating patients that require complex care in remote areas."

"We are proud to support the NPHVA program," says Johanne Desrochers, RUIS McGill Telehealth co-chair and MUHC Associate Director for Telehealth. "Telehealth facilitates communication between healthcare specialists and patients and we are very pleased to be able to do so in a new and revolutionary way." Since 2009, 26 patients have received televisits, real-time access to a team of specialists directly from their home, while another ten have had a teleconsultation with a NPHVA professional from the nearest health centre.

"Quebecers need and deserve exemplary healthcare services and support delivered at the right time and place, and when possible within one’s home," explains the Hon. Arthur T. Porter, President of the RUIS McGill and MUHC Director General and CEO. "By integrating telehealth capabilities into the NPHVA, we assure that ultra-specialized and complex care is available across the vast expanse of territory that is the RUIS McGill. This project is a model of excellence that is directly aligned with the RUIS’ service objectives."

Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) has provided approximately $480,000 in funding to the project. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of electronic health record projects in Canada.

"Telehealth services provide a vital link to specialist services that previously just didn’t exist for many rural and remote patients," said Louise Beauchesne, Executive Regional Director, Quebec Region, Canada Health Infoway. "Systems like the NPHVA’s telehealth program make a real difference to the quality, timeliness and comfort in accessing health care for patients who need complex care."

NPHVA telehealth activities, like those of the MUHC and the RUIS McGill, are supported by the MUHC Telehealth Coordination Centre. The main objective of the Centre is to promote access to and the continuity of quality health care and social services through the use of new information and communications technologies (NICT). Financial support for this project was provided by Canada Health Infoway and the Ministère de la santé et des Services sociaux du Québec.

- 30 -

About the MUHC:

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) One of the world’s foremost academic health centres, the MUHC offers exceptional and integrated patient-centric care, research and teaching. Highly committed to the continuum of care in its community and affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, The Montreal Children's Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal Neurological Hospital, the Montreal Chest Institute and the Lachine Hospital of the MUHC value multidisciplinary service throughout the life span, innovative technologies and practices, strategic partnerships and leadership in knowledge transfer. The MUHC is currently carrying out a $2.25-billion Redevelopment Project on three campuses—the Mountain, the Glen and Lachine—designed to provide healthcare professionals with an effective environment in which to ensure patients and their families benefit from The Best Care for Life. The campuses are also anchored in best sustainable-development practices, including LEED® and BOMA BESt [1] [2]

About RUIS McGill:

The RUIS McGill (Réseau universitaire integré de santé de l’Université McGill) is one of four health networks established by the Ministère de la santé et des Services sociaux du Québec and assigned to the province’s four faculties of medicine to help improve tertiary health care services, teaching and research for the populations they serve. RUIS McGill includes the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), Jewish General Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital Center and Douglas Mental Health University Institute. RUIS McGill’s affiliated regions span 63% of the province’s land mass and represent a population of 1.7 million people residing as far north as the 55th parallel. Telehealth is an area of focus for the RUIS McGill that aims to improve access, continuity and quality of care for patients within its regions.

For More Information:

Rebecca Burns
MUHC Public Relations and Communications 
Phone: (514) 843-1560

{module Media Relations Contact Info EN}