Building a Better Future Through Telehealth Services
As technology progresses, the senior population grows, and social distancing becomes the new normal, Canada must innovate. Although COVID-19 has brought on many challenges, it also has gifted industries with many opportunities.
One of those opportunities is increasing the resources behind the Canadian healthcare industry to implement national telehealth systems safely. At its core, telehealth services allow the remote delivery of clinical healthcare services. This is not a new concept; in fact, in the 1970s, Canada spearheaded the innovative idea of remote healthcare services through technology.
Ever since, Canadian healthcare leaders have been fighting for telehealth as a long-term solution to increase access to care, increase clinical practice efficiencies, provide immediate evidence-based decision making, and offer safe alternatives to clients and healthcare workers.
Access to Care
Canada is one of the biggest countries in comparison to land versus population. This means we are all greatly spread out, limiting our access to quality healthcare when we need it most. With telehealth services, rural residents can access an experienced doctor from anywhere in Canada.
Individuals can cut back on travel time, scheduling mishaps, and gas to find out they are healthy and have nothing to worry about. Less of us will put off going to the doctor, allowing doctors to diagnose conditions early on, increasing the chances of treatment and recovery.
More Efficient Clinical Practices
Telehealth services not only provide more access for clients but also doctors. Cutting back their travel time and geographical limitations allow doctors to access more clients within a day than before. Not only will they have more access to clients, but to fellow professionals as well.
This bonus allows doctors to quickly connect with emergency response departments, remote specialists, and clinics with better resources. Take a look below, where British Columbia quickly implemented new guidelines for telehealth during COVID-19 to ensure consistent quality of care across the province.
One of Canada’s healthcare industries’ biggest critiques is the wait time for healthcare services across the country. According to Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), in 2017, roughly 4.7 million Canadians aged 12 years and older reported that they did not have a regular health care provider.
Even those who have a regular provider experience wait time issues. The 2017 CCHS found that just under four in 10 people with a regular provider could get an appointment either the same or the next day when they needed one.
Health and Safety
Being in a hospital or clinic has always posed a risk for our immune systems. Although this risk has become the new normal with mandatory masks, plexiglass screens, and social distancing, it does not mean we cannot think outside the box for health and safety measures.
With access to telehealth services, we can cut down on the spread of viruses and infections between healthcare workers and the sick. This new approach to medicinal services can better protect us, keeping us all healthy and safe.
One issue that has been a common difficulty for healthcare professionals is the lack of trusted medical thought leaders with easily accessible databases. In crises, telemedicine resources would allow certified specialists and researchers to share knowledge.
With COVID-19 bringing this information gap to light, the Canadian Medical Association, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada have joined together to recommend solutions to any obstacles we may have in implementing telehealth technology across Canada.
Since 2008, the British Columbia Seniors Living Association has been working to develop and improve independent and assisted living communities throughout British Columbia. We believe telehealth services bring just as much benefit and effectiveness to the senior living industry.