Teladoc Health Canada is set to launch its first virtual emergency room at the Dr. Y.K. Jeon Kittiwake Health Centre in New-Wes-Valley, with plans to expand to virtual primary care in the near future. The two-year contract, worth $22 million, will enhance access to healthcare services and provide additional support to patients in need of family physicians or urgent care. The contract may also be renewed for an additional year.
Under the new virtual-care service, patients will first consult with an in-person clinician at a participating emergency room. The clinician will then connect the patient with a virtual doctor who will work alongside them to diagnose and treat the patient’s condition. If necessary, the patient will be transferred to a full-service hospital.
The implementation of Teladoc’s virtual emergency room solution will not only keep facilities open but also ensure that patients have access to care when they need it. The service will be particularly valuable in rural areas where recruiting physicians can be challenging, given population declines and an aging demographic.
In addition to emergency care, Teladoc’s contract will include virtual primary care services. In the coming weeks, 15,000 individuals who are currently on wait-lists for a family doctor will receive letters informing them of their eligibility to sign up for the service. The phased approach will gradually expand to include more individuals in the following months.
By investing in virtual care, the Newfoundland and Labrador government aims to improve healthcare access for all residents, regardless of location or demographics. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the feasibility and benefits of virtual care, it is clear that telehealth will play an increasingly vital role in the future of medicine.
Q: How will the virtual emergency room service work?
A: Patients will first see an in-person clinician at a participating emergency room and then connect with a virtual doctor for diagnosis and treatment. If necessary, patients may be transferred to a full-service hospital.
Q: Will the virtual care service be extended to primary care?
A: Yes, Teladoc’s contract includes virtual primary care services. Eligible individuals will receive letters inviting them to sign up for the service in the coming weeks.
Q: How much will the contract cost the provincial government?
A: The two-year contract is worth $22 million, with an option to renew for a third year.