Imagine living with a chronic disease that required you to make frequent visits to the hospital or your family doctor. Now, imagine if your health care team could monitor your health at home. While it may sound futuristic, this is a reality for many Osler patients through our Telemedicine programs.
I love the power of technology and how it can be used to improve our lives and the lives of the patients we serve. I also believe that the delivery of sustainable health care depends on using technology in new and different ways.
In April, I received the Champions of Telemedicine Award from Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). It was humbling to be recognized for supporting the advancement of quality, patient-centred care through technology but much of the credit goes to Osler’s incredible Telemedicine team. These men and women are the true champions who provide patient-inspired health care every single day.
The use of innovative technology has been growing steadily at Osler and across the province. When we launched the Telehomecare Program at Osler two years ago we were one of three regions, and the only community hospital, that were early adopters of this technology. Telehomecare is growing quickly and is now available in seven regions across Ontario.
More than 1,200 patients living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Heart Failure have enrolled in the Telehomecare Program delivered by Osler and that number is growing every week. We’ve seen how Telehomecare is making a huge difference in the lives of patients and their families. At Osler, there has been a 76 per cent reduction in hospital admissions and 71 per cent fewer visits to the emergency departments (ED) for patients participating in the Telehomecare Program.
In addition to Telehomecare, we operate a nurse-led Geriatric Telemedicine Program that enables Osler geriatricians to better connect with patients and their health team at long-term care facilities through video-conferencing technology. This program has recently been rolled out to three LTC facilities and we are working to expand this service across the Central West region.
We’re proud to share our success stories and were recently featured in a special supplement on Telemedicine in the Globe and Mail. Haniff Bacchus, a Telehomecare patient living with COPD, shares his experience in the program and how it empowered him to take control of his health. I encourage you to check it out!