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Community Paramedicine Continues to Grow in Grey County

April 7, 2015 (Owen Sound, ON) – Remote patient care, (RPC), also referred to as remote patient monitoring, is coming to the homes of more Grey County residents living with Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), announced Mike Muir, Director of Paramedic Services, Grey County.

Grey County is teaming up with Future Health Services Inc., a company operating under South Central Community Development Corporation (SCCDC), to deliver a remote patient care demonstration project, which uses specialized in-home medical technology to monitor patients and connect them with a team of medical professionals and family members. The technology monitors a patient’s vital signs including heart rate, blood pressure, weight and blood oxygen saturation levels. If daily monitoring shows warning signs, a Community Paramedic is automatically notified and checks-in on the patient before symptoms worsen. They also have the ability to share alerts and progress reports with other authorized clinicians and family members via a secure social networking tool as required. The goal of the program is to demonstrate RPC’s impact on reducing hospital admissions and overall healthcare costs.

“Grey County is excited to be included in another promising community paramedicine program,” says Mike Muir, Director of Paramedic Services with Grey County. “When we heard about RPC we knew we wanted to be involved. It’s exciting seeing community paramedics play a proactive role in healthcare and remote patient care will complement the EPIC program, another project in Grey county that provides in-home care by paramedics who work with family doctors.”

To qualify for RPC, a patient must be diagnosed with CHF or COPD and meet one of the following criteria: three or more 911 calls in the past 12 months; two emergency room visits in the past 12 months; or one hospital admission in the past 12 months. There is no cost to participate in the program. The local paramedic services will be sending eligible patients a letter, information package and application form in the mail, as well as engaging other community partners to refer eligible patients.

“This program will allow our highly trained staff to use their skills to keep community members at home where they want to be,” said Kevin Eccles, the Warden of Grey County Council. “Everyone wants proactive programing especially in healthcare and I can’t think of a better use of the expert care givers we have here in Grey County.”

Patients selected for the study will be visited by a Grey County Community Paramedic who will set up their home with convenient and easy to use devices. The paramedic will show patients how to use the equipment and answer their questions. Patients will then monitor themselves daily and the information will be available on a secure web-based platform viewable by the care team and a family member if they wish.

“Remote patient care has been linked to significant reductions in emergency department visits and hospitalization, as well as improved quality of life for patients,” said Jennifer Zelmer, Executive Vice-President, Canada Health Infoway.  “Innovation that helps improve the health and health care of Canadians is essential, and Canada Health Infoway is pleased to have invested in a project that aims to do just that for Ontario residents.”  

“Anyone living alone and suffering from a chronic condition can feel disconnected,” added Muir. “This program will help give them some peace of mind knowing a whole team of caregivers is watching out for them.”

Each patient will participate in the RPC program for three to six months. The program will run for 18 months in total. This is one of several RPC demonstration projects funded by Canada Health Infoway that are underway in Ontario and across Canada.

Program data will be analyzed through a partnership with Queens University to determine to what extent in-home monitoring can reduce the number of emergency room visits by chronic disease patients and reduce healthcare costs.

Future Health Services Inc. is coordinating activities with Grey County, as well as Essex, Peterborough, Renfrew, Sudbury and Guelph/Wellington, the other counties participating in the program.

“We are very excited to be part of this project,” says Rick Whittaker on behalf of Future Health Services Inc. “Remote patient care is a perfect addition to the very successful community paramedicine program. Remote patient care will allow community paramedics to assist more patients with the same resources, which has the potential to save money and more importantly keep patients in their homes longer.”

Whittaker also thanks Canada Health Infoway for their funding of the project. The RPC initiative will target 1,500 patients across eight Ontario municipalities.

If you or a loved one lives at home in Grey County or another participating County and are interested in learning more, please call 1-866-997-9928.

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For more information:

Mike Muir
Director of Paramedic Services
Grey County
Tel: 519 376 5744 ext. 1242
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Kevin McNab
Operations Manager, EMS
Grey County
Tel: 519 376 2228 ext. 5023
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Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate Communications
Canada Health Infoway
Tel: (416) 595-3167
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