Nurses and other healthcare providers in B.C. can now more easily monitor patients while they recover from COVID-19. TELUS Health today announced the expanion of its Home Health Monitoring (HHM) solution, set to further support B.C. patients with, or at risk, of the novel coronavirus. (TELUS photo)

Virtual tool allows B.C. health-care workers to monitor COVID-19 patients remotely

Digital health dashboard allows remote monitoring of patients as they recover from home

Nurses and other health care providers in B.C. can now more easily monitor patients while they recover from COVID-19 at home.

TELUS Health announced today (April 23) the expansion of its Home Health Monitoring (HHM) solution, set to further support B.C. patients with, or at risk, of the novel coronavirus.

They will be providing 10,000 free mobile devices and $0 plans to Canadians in need through their Mobile For Good Program, including eight devices for the Mariposa Gardens Care Community in Osoyoos.

This digital health dashboard, launched in partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Health and local health authorities, enables health care providers to track symptoms and provide medical help for more patients as they recover from the comfort of their homes.

READ MORE: B.C. records 71 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths

Accessible through a mobile device, the program sends daily prompts to the patient to report their biometrics such as temperature, physical symptoms and overall health condition. This then provides crucial information on the status of a patient’s health to their clinicians who monitor their well-being through a digital dashboard.

The dashboard-style system also allows clinicians to support a much larger group of patients at one time – one clinician for 100 patients – and quickly identify those in need of urgent care, while reducing their own risk for infection.

Depending on the escalation of their symptoms, some patients may be advised to contact their doctor, or visit their nearest hospital emergency room, while others with improving symptoms may be told to continue recovering and isolating at home.

According to Interior Health (IH), nearly 400 COVID-19 cases in BC have already benefited from HHM, with 24 cases from the IH Region.

READ MORE: COVID-19: ICBC’s cancellation fee waivers approved by regulator

The company explained in a release that the TELUS Home Health Monitoring system is aligned with the Canadian Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 protocols for the monitoring of patients recovering from COVID-19 outside of hospitals.

TELUS CEO and president, Darren Entwistle, said TELUS Health is committed to working alongside B.C.’s health care leaders to expand the use of technology to support more British Columbians recovering at home.

“By enabling clinicians to remotely observe the vitals of patients with COVID-19, as well as those who are vulnerable to the virus, and provide necessary interventions early, we can reduce exposure and also help to alleviate the pressure in hospital emergency rooms and clinics,” said Entwistle.

Since 2013 the Ministry of Health has been partnered with TELUS to implement a provincial remote patients monitoring service, and the ministry’s assistant deputy minister of infrastructure management and information technology, Corrie Barclay, said their investment with the company has enabled them to act quickly to monitor COVID-19 patients in isolation.

“Home monitoring is a significant part of our response to the ongoing pandemic,” said Lisa Saffarek, Clinical Director Virtual Care and Home Health Monitoring lead at Island Health.

Building off of this successful initiative in B.C., the company said discussions with other provincial health ministries are underway to provide HHM technology to even more Canadians during these unprecedented times.

To learn more visit Telushealth.com and Telus.com/payment-solutions.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Virtual route hearings set for Trans Mountain pipeline

READ MORE: PHOTOS: B.C. seniors offer advice to younger generations

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