Ready to GO with Telehealth at KO Communities!

Two days of high energy, sharing, learning – and some fun – were on the menu for the KO Telehealth Readiness workshops, held in Balmertown March 19th and 20th. The workshops brought together the entire telehealth team – representatives came from Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Thunder Bay Regional Hospital, Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Timmins as well as Community Telehealth Coordinators, Community Health Nurses and Health Directors from the five KO communities. Clinical training on Tuesday was specifically for community telehealth coordinators from the KO communities of North Spirit Lake, Poplar Hill, Fort Severn, Keewaywin and Deer Lake. Training was presented at the KO Balmertown office by Donna Williams, Telehealth Informatics Educator and Christine Penner Polle, Regional Telehealth Coordinator who are both part of the KO Telehealth team located in Balmertown (see photo gallery). After a full day of training, it was off to dinner at the United Church in Red Lake where great food and fun was had by everyone who attended. During the dinner Sam Meekis from North Spirit Lake was presented with a bright, red wagon for his contribution in making telehealth demonstrations such a success (see photo gallery). The evening ended with John Rowlandson, Telehealth Project Manager presenting tie-dyed T-shirts and “goofie” awards from KO Telehealth. Are we ready to begin telehealth services in the KO Region? That was the question posed the following day to approximately 35 participants attending the "Telehealth Readiness Day" workshop at the Campbell Curling Club Lounge in Balmertown. It was roll out day for telehealth to discuss whether our KO communities are ready to begin consultations with medical specialists and other health professionals located in various hospitals throughout Ontario including the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. Participants included our local community health directors, telehealth coordinators, nurses and representatives from NORTH Network in Toronto, Thunder Bay Regional Hospital, Sioux Lookout Zone Hospital, Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre and Red Lake?s Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital. Introduction and presentations were made in the morning followed by discussions in the afternoon (see photo gallery). The workshop was a success and resulted in answering the critical question of the day - are we ready? Telehealth coordinators from the KO communities are trained and ready to operate the telehealth workstations used to communicate with health facilities at a distance. Some of the tools currently used with the telehealth workstation are an otoscope, an exam camera and a document camera. In the near future, KO communities will also have access to a stethoscope. Digital x-ray equipment is also planned for Deer Lake and Fort Severn Nursing stations. The necessary network cabling has also been installed by K-Net and NORTH Network in order ensure secure, private communication possible between patients and doctors by mid-April. More importantly, KO communities and health professionals involved in this project are all on board to start medical consultations, telepsychiatry, and health education sessions. Family videoconferences have already begun in some communities. Poplar Hill just had one recently between a young boy who had surgery at Sick Kids’ Hospital in Toronto and his family from Pikangikum. Thanks to an enthusiastic team of KO community members and health professionals locally and abroad, KO Telehealth IS ready to begin telehealth services in the KO Region in the next few weeks! CHECK OUT THE PICTURES OF THE KO TELEHEALTH TEAM IN MEETINGS Gathering the Telehealth Team together SOME OF THE KO TELEHEALTH TEAM MEMBERS IN TRAINING