First Nations, Rural and Remote Real-Time Virtual Medicine — an Update

In a recent update, Dr. Ray Markham, Executive Director of the Rural Coordination Centre of British Columbia (RCCbc), notes that The Collaborative Centre for Rural and First Nations Virtually Enhanced Care was established last year.

The Collaborative Centre is jointly supported and led by First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Providence Health Services Authority (PHSA), and the RCCbc. It is guided by a representatives from geographic health authorities, citizens, academia, rural healthcare providers, rural and First Nations British Columbians with significant NGO and business experience, and policy makers.

The Centre’s work has been focused around virtual care, while combatting the barriers posed by geography, distance, and weather to address health equity in BC. This forms an “Innovation Accelerator” within the Provincial Digital Health Strategy. All of the initiatives supported by the Centre are locally driven, and will be implemented in partnership.

“So where are we and what are we accelerating?” asks Dr. Markham in the update.

One of the most interesting answers to this question lies in the field of virtually enhanced care — using new & emerging information technologies to help address some of the challenges facing rural and remote healthcare providers and ER services staff.


Virtual Care Platform Access

The Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC) was established under the Rural Subsidiary Agreement in 2001. It is comprised of representatives from Doctors of BC, the Ministry of Health, and the health authorities. The JSC advises the BC government and Doctors of BC on matters pertaining to rural medical practice.

The JSC has supported the provisioning of a virtual care platform for every rural doctor and nurse practitioner serving rural, remote, and rural First Nations patients in BC. The current choice of platform, a choice driven by rural doctors is Zoom, an easy-to-use video conferencing solution.

Zoom was selected as a solution that can currently meet rural/remote/First Nations needs re. connecting with patients, enlarging the healthcare team wrapped around patients, and supporting ER services. Among other things this enables providers who may not be able to be physically present to help carry some of the clinical workload for their teams.


Accessing Zoom accounts for rural/remote/First Nations  providers is available though the following link: