“Virtual providers” with the Real-Time Virtual Support (RTVS) pathways provide free and friendly advice to physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and midwives in rural, remote and First Nations communities across British Columbia (BC). Since their launch in response to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, RTVS pathways are fast replacing old barriers in peer-to-peer consultations with a new and improved “call-a-friend” culture.
Not only do RTVS virtual providers understand rural practice and cultural contexts; they offer dedicated, friendly, compassionate, non-judgmental, and culturally safe advice to all rural providers who call their pathways for urgent or non-urgent cases. It’s no surprise, then, that initial evaluation of the RTVS program is showing improved rural provider experiences and patient-centered care.
On April 14, RTVS team members, Dr. John Pawlovich, Dr. Kendal Ho, Dave Harris, Dr. Brydon Blacklaws, and Helen Novack Lauscher (PhD), showcased their work to national audiences at the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians National Grand Rounds. The topic for the Rounds was “Rural and Remote Health Care Transformation: Exploring the Potential of Telemedicine”.
“People’s jaws were on the floor,” said Dr. Blacklaws of the response to their presentation. “Attendees were saying, ‘You’re doing what? We’d like to model that here in Ontario’, or wherever they were located. It’s fun hearing that feedback.”
The team’s presentation, which describes the complete complement of RTVS supports in BC, including why and how they were created, can be viewed in the video below starting at minute 25:20. You can also catch the RTVS team presenting at UBC CPD’s upcoming Technologies in Emergency Care conference on May 15.
To learn more about RTVS pathways—including how you, as a rural health provider in BC, can get started using them—visit www.rccbc.ca/rtvs.