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   Letter from the Minister of Health for Canada
  Todd Herron
  Orpah McKenzie
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  Barry Burk
  Wolfgang Baun
   Ed Brown, MD
  Dr. Penny Jennett
  Wayne Bell
  Dr. Robert Crawhall
  Bea Felker
  Guy Bisson M.D.,
   Dr. Stanley P. Kutcher
  Dr. Annette O Connor
  Dr. Sarah C. Muttitt
  Peter G. Rossos M.D. and Alejandro (Alex) R. Jadad M.D.

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Ed Brown, MD

Ed Brown, MD
Executive Director, NORTH Network

If you live in a rural, northern or remote community in Canada and need to visit a health professional, telemedicine may be the answer for you.

Telemedicine programs, such as the NORTH Network, use two-way television and electronic medical instruments to provide specialist consultations for patients over a distance. More than 10,000 Ontario citizens have already used the NORTH Network to access health care professionals while remaining in their home communities -- saving significant amounts of time, travel, cost and stress. Patients and providers are pleased with their telemedicine experiences, reporting satisfaction rates exceeding 90 per cent.

Telemedicine is not used for all types of medical care, but in our experience, it can help avoid at least 25% of travel. For example, the NORTH Network provides remote health care services in more than 70 specialty areas such as pre and postoperative care, dermatology, cardiology, psychiatry and emergency stroke care. It also supports health care professionals practicing in isolated communities by providing linkages to fellow clinicians and access to continuing professional development.

Telemedicine has now become part of every day health care in many Ontario communities and should one day be available in all rural communities. In its next iteration, telemedicine will link directly to patients in their homes, assisting them with wellness maintenance and post-hospitalization home-care as well as monitoring and management of chronic diseases. Telemedicine will continue to improve care and increase satisfaction while reducing costs.


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