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Eva Serhal

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  • PS04 - PIA’s to Telehealth: A Journey (ID 13)

    • Event: e-Health 2017 Virtual Meeting
    • Type: Panel Session
    • Track: Clinical and Executive
    • Presentations: 1
    • Coordinates: 6/06/2017, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM, Room 202CD
    • PS04.03 - The Toronto Telemedicine Colaborative - Strength in Numbers (ID 330)

      Eva Serhal, Telepsychiatry, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; Toronto/CA

      • Abstract
      • Slides

      Purpose/Objectives: Telemedicine is transforming the way healthcare is delivered, by breaking down barriers that limit access to care such as geography, maldistribution of expertise, and geography. Telemedicine, has evolved significantly over the past two decades, facilitated by improvements and access to technology, increased provider and patient comfort. Toronto is the largest provider of telemedicine in Ontario, delivering care to primary care sites, such as Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres, Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics, as well as between tertiary care centres. Throughout Ontario, it has become evident that a collective approach to access and utilization of telemedicine would be beneficial. Toronto is well-positioned to lead innovations and support best practices in telemedicine. The Toronto Telemedicine Collaborative was created with representation from academic health science centres and community level healthcare with the goal of reducing isolated programs while addressing gaps in practice protocols, evaluation, and implementation. This presentation will describe how the Toronto Telemedicine Collaborative was established, the goals and how we are able to ignite the unique experience and perspectives of individuals in breaking down barriers while increasing evidence-based models of telemedicine.

      Methodology/Approach: In early 2014, informal discussions between colleagues at three large academic health centres, the University Health Network, St. Michael's Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children, on existing barriers within their telemedicine programs illuminated the siloed nature of telemedicine To advance telemedicine in a coordinated way, a collective approach was necessary. An electronic survey was circulated in June 2014 to all the known Toronto telemedicine services. The result was significant interest in developing a collaborative with common goals and terms of reference,. Regular quarterly meetings were established and individuals were given the encouraged to contribute to the agenda of each meeting. Common concerns and opportunities were established, and eventually, government funders were invited to join ongoing meetings

      Finding/Results: The participation is high with over 50 individuals from 20+ organizations. One priority is the forming of a collective voice for government and policy makers, to inform decisions and drive system change. This grassroots approach to system reform shows great promise in becoming a source of consultation by stakeholders to discuss ideas, assess feasibility, and encourage system change. We have become an advocate against decisions negatively impacting the sector, and have become a consortium with significant expertise to inform best practices and evaluation models.

      Conclusion/Implication/Recommendations: Since the TTC collaborative commenced in 2014, there has been increased clarity in telemedicine practices and procedures within our region, a collective approach to addressing barriers and system challenges, an elevated interest in supporting decision/policy makers to understand system factors, and an improved ability to advocate and express concerns and opportunities to stakeholders. We sit as content experts within our sector with funders and policy makers. Future opportunities include development of validated tools, the contribution to collective research opportunities, advocacy to reduce barriers, development of best practices and protocols and a user level voice to ongoing development and expansion of telemedicine. In short, our voices in addressing systemic issues and burgeoning opportunities are stronger together than they are alone.

      140 Character Summary: The Toronto Telemedicine Collaborative has created a unique and powerful voice for Telmedicine best practices, research opportunities and collaboration

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