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32 new projects enhance telehealth in Alberta

EDMONTON – Albertans living in rural and remote areas will have better access to healthcare services such as chronic disease management, mental-health care, cancer care and hospital follow up, thanks to technology that links specialists and patients.

The Clinical Telehealth Innovation Program will provide more than $3.4 million in new funding for 32 projects over the next two years, with the Alberta government and Canada Health Infoway investing more than $1.7 million each.

Through the use of videoconferencing technology and specialized medical equipment, telehealth enables direct medical consultation without the need to have the health professional and patient in the same place.

“The Alberta telehealth network is an important part of our strategy to improve access to health services for rural Albertans,” said Dave Hancock (pictured), Minister of Health and Wellness. “These new projects will allow more people to receive a wide range of specialist services in locations that are closer to where they live.”

As part of Premier Ed Stelmach’s commitment to Improving Albertans’ quality of life, all nine health regions, as well as the Alberta Mental Health Board and the Alberta Cancer Board, have received increased funding to expand access through telehealth projects.

“The telehealth network is an outstanding example of how innovation can improve access to healthcare services in Canada,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway, a not-for-profit organization which invests with public sector partners to accelerate electronic health records across Canada. “Congratulations to Alberta for recognizing the potential of telehealth and driving it forward for the benefit of patients across the province.”

Alberta’s telehealth network is one of the largest in Canada and includes more than 200 telehealth sites across the province. Among the many benefits of telehealth are:

• Convenient, confidential and secure access to distant clinical specialist expertise and care, particularly for residents living in rural and remote areas.
• Improved clinical and education support for healthcare professionals in their own community.

Projects under development include:

• Wound Management
• Arthritis Consultation
• Rural Palliative
• Chronic Disease Management and Enhanced Transitional Patient Care
• Tele-rehabilitation: Outpatient Care for Stroke Patients
• Surgical Services by Telehealth Closer to Home (Pre-Op and Post-Op)
• Management of Heart Failure and Stroke
• Community Discharge Planning & Follow-Up
• Enhancing Discharge for Children
• Teleorthopedic Consultations

More information is available at: