News release, June 6, 2016 – Government of British Columbia

The Province’s investment will be reaching up to $52 million in a home health monitoring partnership with TELUS to advance access for British Columbians with complex care needs using technology to help manage their health conditions, announced Health Minister Terry Lake.

“The second phase of this project supports patients in receiving the care and monitoring they need from the comfort of their homes and we’ve seen success since it was introduced for select patient groups in 2013,” said Lake, who made the announcement at the eHealth 2016 conference in Vancouver today. “Patients have told us their home health monitoring has resulted in improved self-management and better health, as well as a noticeable decrease to their emergency room visits.”

Home health monitoring is an example of the use of telehealth technology to help proactively monitor at-risk patients, provide support for family caregivers and improve co-ordination of services between health professionals working in the community. Patients are provided with an easy-to-use mobile tablet, which enables them to stay at home connected closely to a care provider from their own home. The pilot phase, offered to heart failure patients in select areas in B.C., was assessed very favourably, with 97% of patients recommending the service to other patients.

Phase 2 will include offering home health monitoring to patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Island Health. Vancouver Coastal Health will also expand TEC4Home, a home health monitoring solution designed specifically for patients’ transition from hospital to home, bridging the gap between hospital and community care.

“Our partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Health is a ground-breaking initiative that is helping thousands of patients in our home province to better manage their chronic conditions from the comfort of their own home. These individuals are getting the care they need without having to travel to see their care providers. They are also able, in conjunction with their care team, to identify health issues before they become life-threatening events,” said Josh Blair, executive vice-president of TELUS Health and chief corporate officer of TELUS. “This solution, supported by committed healthcare providers throughout the province, is a great example of how TELUS Health is fulfilling our mission to leverage technology to help deliver better health outcomes while simultaneously lowering costs for our healthcare system.”

Projects like home health monitoring allow the Ministry of Health, health authorities, health care providers, and other stakeholders to work together to enhance primary and community care in the province. This work is about shifting emphasis into community-based care rather than hospital-based care. It focuses on supporting the health needs of particularly vulnerable people – such as the frail elderly and those with mental health issues – to more proactively manage their conditions and reduce hospital stays and visits.

The Province recognizes that advances in technology can lead to much more personalized and effective health care. Through the #BCTECH Strategy and support for organizations like TELUS, Genome BC, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the BC Cancer Foundation and BC Cancer Agency, the province continues to attract and retain talented researchers to work in B.C. to help improve care for patients and save lives.

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A more innovative health care system can start now.