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Grant could ease rural patients' access to health care

Dr. Carol Laberge and research team members Susan Holtzman, Kathy Rush, Linda Hatt and Louann Janicki will investigate cardiovascular care in rural areas.
Image Credit: Contributed
August 09, 2014 - 6:40 AM

KELOWNA – A $20,000 grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research will help an interdisciplinary team from UBC and Interior Health continue research and development of 'telehealth' communications. The pilot is set to help patients with atrial fibrillation – a common heart condition – in rural areas.

“Often the only option for older adults living in rural areas to receive specialty health care requires leaving the comfort and familiarity of their communities and may lead them to forgo much-needed care,” says team lead and UBCO associate nursing professor, Kathy Rush.

A telehealth system is using electronic communication between patient and physician to help provide easy access to specialty services via the web. For example, a physician in a rural area could send medical records to a specialist to review results or a patient could video conference with a doctor rather than making the drive to a larger city centre.

The team expects the pilot project will increase efficiencies, save on time and decrease costs for patients.

“This innovative project focuses on the most important part of the health care team – the people receiving care,” says School of Nursing director, Patricia Marck.

“If we want to improve care, it is time to develop solutions that work for them closer to home,” she says.

Additional members will study and design psychosocial health focussed components to attend to patients emotional and informational needs during the course of the project.

To contact a reporter for this story, email gbrothen@infotelnews.ca, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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