News Release Archive

  Telemedicine -- a new leading edge healthcare
  telecommunications technology -- is coming to Nova Scotia as
  a pilot project to improve healthcare services to residents
  outside the Metro area.
  Using advanced telecommunications technology, Telemedicine
  will give residents of Nova Scotia greater access to
  healthcare services from specialists. Patients will be able
  to receive immediate high-level, on-site healthcare without
  having to leave their community.
  The Telemedicine pilot is the Department of Health's newest
  health reform initiative to increase community-based
  healthcare services outside the Metro area. It is a new,
  efficient and cost-effective telecommunications system with
  the capability to deliver healthcare services 24 hours per
  day, seven days a week.
  A unique component to Telemedicine is its capability to
  provide rural physicians with greater access to interactive
  continuing medical education. The pilot project will
  concentrate on radiology (X-ray) applications although
  Telemedicine can be applied to many other specialties.
  "Telemedicine is a tremendous addition to this government's
  health reform plan," said Health Minister Ron Stewart. "The
  Telemedicine pilot project we implement will be one of the
  most comprehensive in Canada. It will include interactive
  audio and visual capabilities as well as providing a
  resource for continuing medical education."
  Telemedicine employs computer-based telecommunications
  technology to transmit medical data and video images between
  physicians at two or more locations. It also has interactive
  audio capabilities. Telemedicine transfers information
  between the remote site -- facilities with limited medical
  resources -- and the specialist consulting site
  -- facilities with greater medical resources. It can be
  integrated into existing computer systems and telephone line
  Guysborough, Sheet Harbour and North Sydney are the remote
  sites for the Telemedicine pilot project. The specialist
  consulting site will be the Queen Elizabeth II Health
  Sciences Centre. Dalhousie University and Cape Breton
  Regional Hospital will participate in the continuing medical
  education part of the project.
  A key feature of Telemedicine is a teleradiology
  application, or the transmission of x-rays from a remote
  site. The prompt interpretation of x-rays will be possible.
  In emergency cases, for example, physicians can forward x-rays
to the referring centre prior to the patient's arrival
  to improve patient care.
  Primary care physicians using Telemedicine will have easy
  access to specialists without the patients having to travel
  to other healthcare facilities. Videoconferencing will be
  used to consult with a specialist and retrieve up-to-date
  patient information. Video photos of a patient can be taken
  and transmitted for discussion as well as facsimiles.
  Information about the patient can be recorded for future
  reference and review.
  The Telemedicine pilot project will work in conjunction with
  the physician recruitment program already under way to help
  retain physicians in rural areas. It opens new opportunities
  for professional interaction, consultation and backup
  support. With Telemedicine, all physicians have equal access
  to continuing medical education regardless of where they are
  practicing and where the instructor is based.
  The tender for the Telemedicine pilot project was awarded to
  TecKnowledge Healthcare Systems Inc. -- a Nova Scotia based
  healthcare technology consulting firm. The total amount of
  the tender is approximately $480,000.
  "We are very pleased with the opportunity to demonstrate how
  Telemedicine can benefit Nova Scotians," said Dorothy
  Spence, vice president, business and marketing, TecKnowledge
  Healthcare Systems Inc. "Its diverse applications will help
  to ensure everyone has equal access to quality healthcare
  The Nova Scotia Department of Health and TecKnowledge will
  work in partnership with MT&T, Dalhousie University, Cape
  Breton Regional Hospital, the QE II Radiology group and the
  Medical Society of Nova Scotia to effectively implement the
  Telemedicine pilot project.
  Contact: Sue McKeage  902-424-3581
  NOTE TO EDITORS: Backgrounder available by calling
                   1-800-670-4357 or 902-424-4492.
  trp                   Nov. 01, 1995