Telemedicine

The use of virtual care in the emergency room at Kings County Memorial Hospital in Montague could soon be a reality, but exactly what it will look like is still unknown.

The Western Hospital in Alberton has been using video to connect patients (telemedicine) with doctors since November 2018 and the province announced last week they are looking at expanding to KCMH.

Three Rivers Mayor Ed MacAulay said town council hasn’t been in contact with Health PEI on that specific subject, but there was a meeting a few months back.

“At that time we were looking at communities and Health PEI working together more in the area of community health and well-being as well as the services available in the community, Mayor MacAulay said.

Even so, he concedes telemedicine has a place in health care, but stops short of saying it is a solution for bringing the ER back to full-time hours.

Right now the biggest issue seems to be having the people to provide services, he said.

“The problems are pretty large and I think there needs to be a bigger discussion at the provincial and municipal level,” the mayor added.

“From a municipality point of view we’d like to hear more.”

Health is a provincial responsibility, but Mayor MacAulay hopes there will be communication with the town when it comes to changes.

“We want to make sure our residents have good quality health care as much as any other residents on PEI.”

Health PEI did not respond to questions from The Graphic before press time.

The video service at Western Hospital is provided by Maple, a virtual health care corporation owned in part by Doctor Brett Belchetz, a practicing emergency department physician.

The doctors listed on Maple’s website are from as close as Charlottetown and as far away as Calgary with the majority in Ontario.

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