Sophie’s story shows a situation, that unfortunately, is experienced by too many patients across Canada. The lack of medical staff and the distance from the regions where they live, make access to the healthcare difficult. In areas particularly distant from urban centers, finding medical staff can be complicated task. According to the Canadian law, the presence of a doctor is mandatory during certain treatments, as is the case for hemodialysis. So, patients must travel very far from home to access to this type of service.
Sophie, 34 years old, a mother of two children, Lea and Jordan, lives in La Tuque in Haute-Maurice. Two years ago, she was the victim of a road accident that turned her life, and her family upside down. Her very damaged kidneys became deficient and eventually, stopped filtering and cleaning the blood. Now she has to undergo more than 3 dialysis sessions per week. The most problematic fact is that she is forced to drive several hours to Trois-Rivières in order to receive the treatment which is crucial to her existence.
She spends many hours on the road in tough traffic than other hours lining up for a sooner availability of a treatment that takes long hours and to be repeated three times a week. As a result, not only the quality of her life but also her health and family life conditions have been quickly worsening. Unfortunately, many people are in the same case as Sophie. Concerned by this situation, the managers of the CHUM’s Telehealth department called on the video surveillance industry to find a solution to these patients. This was completely new, as the process and the necessary material were not defined. The video surveillance equipment is not intended for medical use.
THE CHALLENGE WAS HUGE: TO HAVE SOPHIE TREATED AND NURSED REMOTELY BY A DOCTOR.
Of course, there are different solutions but none of them meet the several requirements of this project plus they were very expensive. After many meetings and research, the team iMotion has been able to find a combination of technologies that allows for the creation of telehealth stations. Our expertise has allowed us to explore and identify the problem experienced by these patients. During the meetings, we guided the CHUM telehealth team to determine the respective needs of the medical professionals and patients.
We believed that we had all the necessary equipment to carry out this project, but many problems had to be solved beforehand. It took several months of work to find the right combination of technologies. It is by combining their creativity and efforts that our team of engineers and specialists has finally succeeded in connecting all these technologies together. Thus, in response to this complex problem, we presented not only a viable answer but also an affordable solution.
Through a combination of surveillance cameras, workstations and televisions as well as many technologies, we were able to ensure that Sophie could be treated remotely. Thanks to the expertise of our teams, the link and connection between these technologies has been established. The cameras placed above the patients are fully motorized and their very high quality guarantees an optimal diagnosis. The connection between the patient and the doctor is provided by a headset with microphone and a television set too in order to entertain patients, since a dialysis session can last several hours.
Then comes the doctor’s station, which, using a multi-view monitor and a headset with microphone, can communicate with both patients and the nursing team. The nurse’s position complies with the same conditions. These cutting-edge technologies finally allow patients like Sophie to receive their hemodialysis care. The level of service quality remains the same as if the doctor were on site and the patient comfort is always taken into consideration. Sophie will no longer have to travel to hospitals in other regions to access her health care.
This solution has been tested for more than 2 years in the CHUM de La Tuque Telehealth program without any service calls made to our team. The implementation and use of this system are a real success and a real pride for our multidisciplinary team that gave birth to it.
The combined efforts of the CHUM and iMotion made it possible to open the new satellite hemodialysis unit in La Tuque in 2017. This unit has radically changed the lives of many patients like Sophie, allowing them to access quality medical care near their homes.