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Patients using Telehealth in Weyburn Primary Health Care Clinic

New Telehealth equipment in Weyburn Primary Health Care Clinic is improving patient care and satisfaction. 

Telehealth equipment was purchased for the clinic by EHealth (the Ministry of Health’s technology services) as part of a trial case. Four other locations in the province also received the equipment to increase patient and provider uptake of virtual clinics in a new setting.   

“This became an opportunity to align patients with the best possible venue, using staff at the clinic for Telehealth services rather than asking them to go to the already busy emergency department at the Weyburn General Hospital,” says Wanda Miller, Regional Director, Primary Health Care for Sun Country Health Region.

“Most of the targeting services for the site involves specialist referrals and ongoing disease management, both of which are perfect for the primary care setting.” 

“Another consideration is that there is no chance of service interruptions due to outbreaks in the other facilities,” she says.   

Telehealth sessions hosted to date include pre-op sessions for hip and knee replacement, cancer care, spinal pathways, pelvic floor pathways, patient specialist appointments, education and caregiver support sessions

Sun Country Health Region’s Telehealth Coordinator Mary Deren, who originated the project, also works closely with the clinic staff to schedule the patient appointments.

Since October 22, 2014 when the equipment was installed, patient appointments have been scheduled through Telehealth appointments utilizing the new equipment with more types of appointments scheduled in every day.   

Brenda Clarke, Primary Health Care Coordinator at the Weyburn clinic says the experience has been uplifting.

“When patients arrive, we complete any forms that are required and complete their vitals in preparation for their appointment. Patients have expressed gratitude for being able to stay in their home community and still have access to specialists, education and support sessions without having to travel,” she says.  

Patients have been impressed with Telehealth, with some saying it was an awesome experience, no traffic to battle, no cold to be exposed to. 

One patient said it was so wonderful to be able to talk to her doctor in Edmonton without travelling there. She added that the conversation was readily understood and replies were conveyed with no difficulty.

Another patient said her family looks forward to other opportunities to use this method of communication as age is limiting her driving, especially in the busy areas where the hospitals are located in larger cities.

As a result of the experiment in the Weyburn clinic, the community of Maryfield is already in the process of purchasing similar equipment for the Maryfield Primary Health Care Clinic to benefit the patients in that area.

Posted Jan. 29

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