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<h4>Lung Transplant Recipient Marie Long with her <br>grandaughter and her daughter Stacey MacKay</h4>

Lung Transplant Recipient Marie Long with her
grandaughter and her daughter Stacey MacKay

Telehealth Beyond Borders

A Lung Transplant Specialist is limited Resource but Nova Scotian's don't go without services thanks to Telehealth Technologies

The Nova Scotia TeleHealth Network (NSTHN) is part of a dynamic multidisciplinary healthcare team that provides a wide scope of services to Nova Scotians within our province. The reality of health issues is that this province cannot provide all the services that it’s population require. There are various reasons for this such as rare health conditions or unusual/ specialized interventions that are supported by staff and resources in areas outside of our province.

One such program is the Lung Transplant Program out of the Toronto General Hospital. There are only a select group of patients who meet the criteria to receive this type of surgery.The reality of health care is that Nova Scotia cannot provide all the services that its popultaion requires. Most of the patients from Nova Scotia for whom this could be an option require an assessment from a Respirologist at the Toronto General Hospital. In the past this assessment was often carried out with the patient having to travel to Toronto.

In the spring of 2003,Mary Ellen Salenieks, TeleHealth Coordinator, Toronto General Hospital contacted the staff of the NSTHN to discuss the possibility of having some assessments carried out by using TeleHealth. We were delighted to be asked to be part of this patient service. The District Coordinators worked with the Mary Ellen and the Site Coordinators
<h4>Nova Scotia Telehealth coordinators <br>Valerie Taylor(left) and Linda Muir</h4>

Nova Scotia Telehealth coordinators
Valerie Taylor(left) and Linda Muir

at the proposed patient sites to establish this program.

I had an opportunity to attend one of these sessions in my role as District Coordinator. The patient had significant disability associated with his lung condition. On the day of his appointment he was able to come to the local healthcare facility accompanied by his wife, daughter and three other family members.
As a healthcare professional what impressed me most was the professionalism and caring shown to this patient and his family. It was what we would want for our family or ourselves.

In discussion following the consult the patient and family felt they had received care that may have exceeded what a face-to-face encounter could have accomplished. The anxiety associated with making the “Trip to Toronto in my condition “ was a real concern to the patient. The ability to have all the family present was a huge bonus. The traditional appointment would have excluded all but his wife. The cost savings while not actually measured should be obvious, the airfare and accommodations.

This is a wonderful example of how people and technology work together to make a difference. To date the NSTHN has partnered with Toronto General Hospital, University Hospital Network in Toronto and NorthNet in Ontario to facilitate these sessions. Several patients from Nova Scotia have been assessed in this way.

This is not only the future of healthcare delivery, it is the here and now!

By Linda Muir, TeleHealth Coordinator, Districts 4, 5 & 6 Nova Scotia TeleHealth Network


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