Unique tele-wound care in Quebec
SHERBROOKE, Que. – A new service
has been launched in Quebec: wound care teleassistance, also known as
téléassistance en soins de plaies (TASP). With this service a nurse can
use a camera to film her patient’s wound, while at the same time an
expert nurse in another institution can receive the images.
They can then hold an online discussion to evaluate the patient’s wound
and plan treatment. TASP increases access to care, allows treatment of
patients in their own communities, reduces visits to emergency centres
and can prevent chronic wound complications. Because it is based both on
a clinical network of trained nurses and standardized methods, TASP is
unique in Canada.
TASP is a project of the Réseau universitaire intégré de santé de
Sherbrooke (RUIS), a network that covers an area that includes Estrie,
part of Montérégie and Centre-du-Québec. Expert nurses from the Centre
hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) were the first to provide
real-time support via remote access to their colleagues from the Estrie
health and social services centres (CSSS).
Ten expert nurses distributed among the different RUIS institutions will
soon be able to coach other nurses located in more than 70 points of
“Our institution was the first in Estrie to offer a virtual wound care
clinic linked to the CHUS professional team. Our patients were
pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the live service they received.
They are happy they can stay in their community and have easy access to
specialized services. In fact, this new technology will be implemented
this spring in our Lambton point of service and a little later, during
the year, at the St. Ludger point of service,” said Pierre Latulippe,
executive director of CSSS du Granit.
An expanded role for nurses
The expert nurses and about 80 other nurses from RUIS’s CSSS will be
trained in the virtual clinic technology and will all adopt the same
wound-care methods. Two CHUS nurses developed the chronic wound care
frame of reference, Aidez-moi, s’il-vous- plaie!, a training tool that
will be used throughout the RUIS. Standardization of care involves 35
hours of training and continuing education through the virtual network.
“Wound care teleassistance expands the role of nurses, because the
service depends on their expertise. They themselves will be able to
establish a treatment plan, provide care, perform specialized techniques
and monitor patients suffering from pressure ulcers, lower limb ulcers,
diabetic foot ulcers and other complex chronic wounds,” said Céline
Gervais, director of nursing at the CHUS.
“These activities increase their autonomy and their leeway to make
decisions,” said Gervais. “This is a new way of sharing fields of
Wound care teleassistance was made possible by a partnership with the
MinistÃ¨re de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec (MSSS) and
Canada Health Infoway, which invested nearly $4 million in the project.
The service is supported by a massive IT structure that uses wireless
technology. The sound and images are sent securely and confidentially
via the MSSS’s private telecommunications network, known as the Réseau
de télécommunications sociosanitaire (RTSS). This totally secure network
guarantees data integrity and confidentiality.
“Wound care is often complex and there are few specialized nurses in
this field. The wound care teleassistance project will ensure access to
state-of-the-art treatment for the population within the territory of
the RUIS de l’Université de Sherbrooke. It will also permit home care
for patients who otherwise would have had to stay in the hospital for
days, even weeks,” said Dr. Michel A. Bureau, executive director with
the Direction générale des services de santé et de médecine
universitaire of the MinistÃ¨re de la Santé et des Services sociaux.
“Technological innovations, such as teleassistance, are bringing
specialized care to patients and communities in need,” said Louise
Beauchesne, executive regional director, Quebec, Canada Health Infoway.
“The wound care teleassistance program in Quebec is another example of
how investments in electronic health record systems is improving access
to care when patients need it most.”
“Telehealth is the way of the future, because it facilitates access to
services, supports regional autonomy and reduces professional isolation.
RUIS de l’Université de Sherbrooke is therefore extremely proud of the
implementation of wound care teleassistance. All the partners spared no
effort and we take our hats off to them. No doubt in the near future,
other telehealth services will be rolled out in our territory, in the
primary interest of the patient,” concluded Patricia Gauthier, executive
director of the CHUS and president of RUIS de l’Université de Sherbrooke.
About RUIS de l’Université de Sherbrooke
In 2003, the MSSS divided Québec into four integrated university health
networks (RUIS), each attached to a Faculty of Medicine (Sherbrooke,
McGill, Montréal and Laval). The objective was to assure the regions of
support in the organizing and continuity of care and services as well as
to give tangible support to specialized care and training activities,
and academic renewal. Within the clinical context, RUIS de l’Université
de Sherbrooke covers the areas of Estrie, part of Montérégie and Centre-du-Québec.
This is why CHUS, the main partner of the Université de Sherbrooke, is
called upon to serve nearly one million people for certain specialized
forms of care.
Posted February 25, 2010