Virtual Critical Care Expands To Seven New Hospitals
SUDBURY, ON – Seven more hospitals in northeastern Ontario have been added to the Virtual Critical Care (VCC) Unit at Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord (HSN) in Greater Sudbury.
Joining the VCC model are the Emergency Departments at Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre, Manitoulin Health Centre (Little Current and Mindemoya sites), Blind River District Health Centre, Services de santé de Chapleau Health Services, Hôpital de Mattawa Hospital, and Lady Dunn Health Centre in Wawa.
The addition of the seven new sites brings to 16 the number of hospitals in northeastern Ontario using Virtual Critical Care. The VCC Unit, supported by the North East Local Health Integration Network and launched in May of 2014, is the first virtual critical care model of its kind in Canada.
Virtual Critical Care uses the latest in videoconferencing technology and electronic medical records sharing to connect HSN with smaller Critical Care units and Emergency Departments at hospitals across northeastern Ontario. The VCC model uses a specially designed software program created by the Ontario Telemedicine Network.
Under the VCC model, a team of Intensive Care physicians, specially trained nurses and ICU respiratory therapists based at HSN are available for around-the-clock consultations for critically ill patients at participating hospitals. Other allied health professionals such as dietitians and pharmacists are also available for consultation during scheduled hours.
The goal of VCC is to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of critically ill patients across northeastern Ontario, and potentially avoid the transfer of patients out of their local hospitals, away from their families and support systems.
Since its introduction, the VCC unit has been used for a total of 207 consults involving 62 patients. Consultations through the VCC allowed health care professionals to avoid medical transfers for 26 of those patients, at an estimated savings of approximately $450,000.
Registered Nurse and virtual critical care team member Diane Whalen demonstrates a Virtual Critical Care consult. (HSN)