Nova Scotia Journal

Successful pilot virtual care is now available to all Nova Scotians

virtual care is now available to all Nova Scotians

Key Takeaways:

  • This week, the program was expanded to the central and eastern health zones.
  • Following a successful pilot program, virtual care is now available to all Nova Scotians on the waiting list for a family doctor or nurse practitioner.

The program, called VirtualCareNS, began in the spring and was initially available to people on the health authority’s waitlist for a primary care provider in the northern and western health zones.

“Because of its success we are now broadly offering this service to all Nova Scotians,” Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Nova Scotia Health’s vice-president of research, innovation, and discovery, told Radio’s Information Morning Halifax on Wednesday.

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“So we’ve scaled up in the northern and western zones, and now we’ve expanded into the central and eastern zones.” More than 81,000 Nova Scotians were on the province’s doctor waitlist in November, increasing more than 60% from the same time last year.

This program is intended to assist people who do not have a family doctor in getting medical appointments for prescription refills, minor illnesses and injuries, and aches and pains without going to the emergency room.

family doctor for nova Scotians; Image from CBC News

According to Tomblin Murphy, the program will also assist people in need of sexual health and mental health services.

When Premier Tim Houston announced the expansion in September, he stated that the widespread lack of access to primary care had had a negative ripple effect on the entire healthcare system.

Tomblin Murphy stated that she has already noticed an improvement in virtual care patients and the healthcare system. She anticipates similar outcomes for people on the doctor’s waiting list and hopes it will provide them with improved and ongoing access.

She stated that medical history background information would be saved for future online visits.

“When you do a virtual visit, and it’s a video call, you can actually see things like if it’s a skin rash, and then make your clinical judgment and make the prescriptions or the next steps,” Alexiadis explained. “So, in this platform, you can not only make a diagnosis and send prescriptions to the patient’s preferred location, but you can also make referrals to specialists, lab tests, and diagnostics.”

Source: CBC News

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