New developments in Real-Time Virtual Support for rural and remote physicians in BC

During her residency, Dr. Bria Sharkey regularly utilized virtual supports as part of her primary care services in rural and remote Indigenous communities

Back in the spring of 2016, at the then Rural Continuum of Care Conference in Prince George, Drs. Don Burke and John Pawlovich began a quiet conversation about virtual health technology, critical care support and rural & remote physicians in BC. What subsequently spawned from this chance meeting was CODI (Critical Outreach & Diagnostic Intervention): essentially an “intensivist in your pocket” through an innovative smart phone app. CODI was well received by rural providers and the energy and enthusiasm of the team or rural physicians, intensivists and app developers proved resoundingly that there is a significant appetite for Real-Time Virtual Supports.

In the fall of 2018, the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC) generously supported a pilot phase of CODI in order to learn more about how this innovative Real-Time Virtual Support pathway might support rural and remote patients and providers. This pilot phase recently concluded and an evaluation report was generated. (Download the report now)

With the success of the CODI pilot, the obvious follow up question is: where do we go from here? How could (and should) real-time virtual supports evolve to best serve rural providers and their patients? The next steps will involve a significant change as the app developers for CODI Inc. and the intensivists previously providing clinical support for CODI have chosen separate paths. However, Real-Time Virtual Supports remains a very high priority for RCCbc  and we – your rural colleagues – are fully committed to helping shape a new, dynamic, and sustainable pathway forward that supports all rural providers in the best ways possible.

Critical and Emergency Care supports are still available for rural physicians in BC. You may connect with the Intensivists groupDrs. Ishtiaq Ahmed, Omar Ahmad, Don Burke, Mario Francispragasam, Neilson McLean and MJ Slabbertby calling 1-888-918-0626 or you may use the CODI app as usual. Both groups are committed to providing support for anyone who calls.

Over the next weeks and months, RCCbc will provide correspondence and updates about the evolution of the new Real-Time Virtual Support pathways being developed to support rural providers. If you have questions or concerns about this transition, or suggestions for where you think these supports should evolve, please feel free to reach out to Dr. John Pawlovich through the RCCbc office at 1-877-908-8222 or via email at info@rccbc.ca.