Gray Bruce’s virtual emergency care program is expanding

An expanded virtual emergency care program from Gray Bruce will provide patients with a quick and convenient medical visit six days a week.

Owen Sound Emergency Department Chief Dr. Sunil Mehta said the program allows patients to connect with a local doctor from the comfort of their own home through a smart device or computer.

It said from Thursday it will offer services six days a week, having successfully operated four days a week during the summer.

“The expansion is intended to help us alleviate some of the pressures on Gray Bruce’s emergency services. Virtual emergency care has been very successful in helping patients with minor issues that can be treated virtually, to avoid having to travel and wait in an emergency department,” he explained. “So extending it gives us the opportunity to try to help other patients or more patients to postpone or avoid emergency room visits at a time when wait times are excessively long and our services are overloaded by the volumes we have.”

Wait times for virtual emergency care are currently around 35 minutes per patient, while an average consultation takes less than 20 minutes.

The service opened in March four days a week and saw an average of 10 to 13 patients. Patients can receive medical advice, prescriptions, and sick notes as needed.

However, people still need to go to the emergency room for serious problems such as chest pain, serious illness, trauma, or injury disabling a body part.

Mehta said while virtual emergency care programs are underway in other parts of the province, the Gray Bruce program is unique in that it shares electronic patient records with emergency departments. of the whole region.

“So whenever a patient is seen in our virtual emergency clinic, those notes are then visible in an emergency department, if the patient needs to go to the emergency room,” he explained.

About Irene J. O'Donnell

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