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Telehealth

Telehealth bridges the distance between you and your patients.
What is Telehealth?

Telehealth is a free videoconferencing service. 

You can use videoconferencing software on your office computer or meeting-room equipment to connect online with other professionals. 

With Telehealth, you can:

  • conduct clinical consultations
  • engage in continuing professional education
  • collaborate on administrative matters

Telehealth helps you to:

  • deliver quality services to distant communities
  • reduce patient burdens associated with travelling to cities for treatment
  • connect with health-care professionals across the country to share knowledge

The Telehealth network

Telehealth’s network consists of over 900 videoconferencing locations at 270 clinical and non-clinical sites.

Specialists from nearly 30 clinical areas (and growing) can connect with patients in 117 communities, including remote and distant communities, and First Nations communities, across British Columbia and the Yukon.

"Telehealth in some shape or form is the only way we can hope to provide specialized (and primary) care to patients who live outside of urban areas." 
– Annemarie Kaan, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Acute & Chronic Heart Failure, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver


"Telehealth allows my patients to be seen within days or weeks, rather than months and sometimes years. . . It allows patients to be on a level playing field, when it comes to accessing healthcare." – Matthew Chow, MD, Medical Director, E-Mental Health Services & Strategy, BC Children’s and BC Women’s, Vancouver



About us

We’re committed to serving you better.

Telehealth is a consolidated service, which brings together the Telehealth services and expertise of Providence Health Care (PHC), Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).  

A dedicated centre for Telehealth

Telehealth is situated within the Lower Mainland Consolidated (LMC) Information Management / Information Technology Services (IMITS) department. By creating a centralized, dedicated centre for Telehealth under LMC IMITS, we’re able to enhance stakeholders’ experiences:

  • reduce duplication of services
  • streamline booking processes
  • provide a single point of intake
  • provide more robust support services
“I am always appreciative and impressed by the services offered through this department... They really care about what they are doing and ensure quality delivery.”
–Joanna Tait, Executive Assistant for Fiona Walks,
Vice President, and Trish Hunt, Senior Director, Safety, Quality & Supportive Care, BC Cancer Agency
Privacy & security

Your patients' information is always secure.

Telehealth operates in accordance with the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) and the BC Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), which set forth strict standards and obligations that govern the collection, use, protection, and storage of personal information by public and private bodies, respectively. 

Many people wonder why Telehealth can’t be delivered via Skype. According to these federal and provincial privacy acts, Skype isn't considered a secure enough platform for the confidential nature of patient-provider interactions.

Telehealth is contained within the eHealth Network Gateway (eNG). The eNG is:

  • a secure, reliable, high-speed network connecting most BC health-care facilities within the six health authorities
  • completely private and cannot be accessed by third parties
  • designed with redundant connections between health authorities, which allow for continued, uninterrupted communications, even if a site is being repaired or goes down.
 

Clinical videoconferences require the same ethical considerations and are held to the same high standards of quality, safety, and confidentiality as in-person appointments.


Due to the nature of Telehealth appointments, special considerations and steps must be taken. 


For example:

  • patients/clients must be instructed on how Telehealth appointments are conducted and what to expect
  • patients/clients must be made aware of their rights to opt out of Telehealth, at any time, for an in-person consult
  • all participants must identify who is in the room and subsequently identify any newcomers once the session is underway
  • all participants must have a clinical reason for being present and verbal agreement must be obtained from the patient/family member for each participant’s presence.
 
Telehealth’s videoconferencing equipment doesn't collect or store any data transmitted to the network.
 
  • Telehealth equipment uses codecs to encrypt and decrypt voice and video transmissions, so only the intended recipients can hear and view them.
  • Clinical encounters are never recorded.
  • Administrative and educational videoconferences can be recorded with written consent of all participants.
  • The only health information stored by Telehealth is patient demographic information. This data is stored in Canada; our main storage cores are located in Vancouver and Kamloops.
 
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