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Telehealth

Clinidata preferred vendor for BC nurse line

VICTORIA –- Following an intensive nine-month competitive process, Clinidata Corp. has emerged as the preferred candidate to deliver BC NurseLine and other related services in British Columbia.

The BC government said Clinidata has the program management and information technology skills to address the current and future requirements of BC NurseLine and BC HealthGuide.

In recent years, the BC NurseLine budget has almost tripled, rising from $5 million in 2001/02 to almost $15 million in 2005/06.

This funding has strengthened British Columbians’ access to care in remote communities. It has also enabled the addition of the pharmacist service, and innovative pilot projects to support those with chronic diseases.

The next step will build on this foundation, with a view to ultimately expanding the service to include physicians, mental health specialists and crisis intervention.

For its part, Clinidata already operates telehealth services in both Ontario and New Brunswick. With more than 350 professional nurses across six telehealth centres, Clinidata is said to be the largest nursing triage service in Canada, and among the top five providers of nurse tele-triage in the world.

Demand for telehealth services in B.C. is expanding across the province’s widespread, diverse population and challenging geography. The intention with this new contract is to build on BC NurseLine, which currently offers tele-triage service on a 24/7 basis.

Specially trained registered nurses currently offer health information and advice in over 130 languages to anyone in B.C with access to a phone.

Pharmacists also are available between 5 pm and 9 am daily to answer medication-related calls.

Meeting the future needs of British Columbians will require BC NurseLine to be equipped with the best available business technology and systems. During the competitive Joint Solutions RFP process (JSRFP), Clinidata demonstrated a strong commitment, capacity and capability to deliver current programs and future service enhancements.

As with the original competitive process to select the first provider for BC NurseLine in April 2000, this competition was open to both the private and public sectors.

The JSRFP was initiated in January 2005. Emergency Communications for Southwest British Columbia (E-Comm), the corporation that has operated BC NurseLine since its inception, will continue to provide BC NurseLine and HealthGuide services while government and Clinidata continue to the due diligence and negotiation phases of the process.

A new contract will include provisions to ensure B.C. registered nurses staff the BC NurseLine and that the service remains in B.C.

If a final contract is negotiated to the satisfaction of both parties, transition to the new service provider is anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2006. The new proponent will be required to meet or exceed all of British Columbia’s stringent privacy laws.

Clinidata will make job offers to all existing staff and begin looking at opportunities to expand the current suite of services to support health system re-design initiatives, and enhance British Columbians’ access to health information and advice, primary health care, chronic disease management, hospice and palliative care.

The JSRFP process is in keeping with the government’s commitment to expand and strengthen the BC NurseLine service beyond the enhancements of the last four years.

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