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Canada's first tele-pediatric intensive care program launched in BC

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Vancouver – Canada’s first tele-pediatric intensive care service (tele-PICU) provides children with increased access to specialized care closer to their home community.

The service is currently available at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, Nanaimo Regional Hospital and Victoria General Hospital as well as BC Children’s Hospital. Tele-PICU was established by Child Health BC in partnership with the Island and Interior health authorities. 

Tele-PICU allows teams at BC Children’s or Victoria General Hospital to assess children closer to their community through real-time, two-way videoconferencing. Tele-PICU teams use high resolution cameras and digital stethoscopes that enable physicians and nurses to see patients as well as to listen to and amplify sounds of the heart and lungs of seriously ill or injured children. 

As a result of this initiative, intensive care teams can now collaborate with health care providers in communities across the province to help children receive diagnosis and treatment sooner and often without leaving their community. When a child does not need to be transferred to BC Children’s or Victoria General, families face fewer burdens including reduced travel costs, time away from work and are able to stay better connected to their community support networks. The service also supports health care providers by sharing new knowledge and best practices to further building the capacity of health care providers. 

Tele-PICU is part of Child Health BC’s Children’s Virtual Care initiative that integrates tele-health and other technologies to enhance services to children throughout BC. These sites include technology and tele-health equipment as well as equipment to support pediatric visits with trained nurses and support staff. 

Quotes:

Health Minister Terry Lake

“Children are among our most vulnerable, and being able to provide specialized care for them in their home community means the world to them and their parents. By using the latest innovations in health care, we’re reducing the burden of travel for parents of seriously ill children, allowing them the comforts of home during a stressful time.”

Dr. Maureen O'Donnell, executive director, Child Health BC, BC Children's Hospital

“This is just one of the many innovative examples of how health care providers work together to serve children throughout our province. Through Child Health BC, a partnership with the province's health authorities, we collaborate to improve children's health and health care services." 

Dr. David Wensley, division head, Critical Care Medicine, BC Children’s Hospital

“Tele-PICU can help minimize or eliminate the need for families to travel to BC Children’s for treatment, making life easier for both patients and families throughout BC. It can also allow families to meet their child’s PICU team and be a part of the assessment which is an important part of family-centred care.” 

Dr. Brendan Carr, president and CEO, Island Health

"We are pleased to support innovations that allow us to better serve our patients and families close to home, and at the same time give our staff the tools to deliver on our commitment of excellence in health and care.” 


Quick Facts: 
 
Children's Virtual Care is available in 17 communities, four of which include tele-PICU. Availability will expand in areas where families experience the greatest challenges of isolation and geographical barriers.
Programs at BC Children’s now using tele-health include: 
o Audiology and Early Hearing 
o Biochemical Diseases
o Cardiology
o Complex Care
o Cystic Fibrosis 
o Endocrinology 
o Diabetes 
o Gastroenterology
o General Surgery
o Hemophilia
o Immunology and Allergy
o Infectious Diseases
o Mental Health
o Neurology (epilepsy and ketogenic diet) 
o Oncology (long term follow up) 
o Organ Transplant Clinic
o Orthopedics
o Rehabilitation Medicine
o Renal (kidney) care
o Respiratory
o Speech Language Pathology
o Urology

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) plans, manages and evaluates selected specialty and province-wide health care services across BC, working with the five geographic health authorities to deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit www.phsa.ca or follow us on Twitter @PHSAofBC.

BC Children’s Hospital, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority provides expert care for the province’s most seriously ill or injured children, youth and young adults, including newborns. Child and Youth Mental Health provides a diverse range of specialized and one-of-a-kind tertiary mental health and concurrent disorders services for children, adolescents and young adults across the province. For more information, visit www.bcchildrens.ca or follow us on Twitter @BCChildrensHosp.


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For more information or to arrange an interview: 

Media contact Lower Mainland:
Cara Christopherson
Communications Officer
Provincial Health Services Authority
cara.christopherson@phsa.ca 
Telephone: 604-875-3560
PHSA media line: 778-867-7472

Media contact Vancouver Island:
Chris Shewchuk 
Communications Officer
Island Health Communications 
christopher.shewchuk@viha.ca
Telephone: 250-370-8377
BC Children's Hospital
Children's Health
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