Real-Time Virtual Support

Relational Work Is the Work: Virtual Healthcare Transformation for Rural, Remote, and First Nations Communities in British Columbia

The healthcare crisis across unceded First Nations territories in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities in British Columbia (BC) is marked by persistent barriers to accessing care and support close to home.

This commentary describes an exceptional story of how technology, trusted partnerships, and relationships came together to create an innovative suite of virtual care programs called “Real-Time Virtual Support” (RTVS).

We describe key approaches, learnings, and future considerations to improve the equity of healthcare delivery for rural, remote, and First Nations communities.

The key lessons include the following:

(1) moving beyond a biomedical model – the collaboration framework for health service design incorporated First Nations’ perspective on health and wellness;

(2) relational work is the work – the RTVS collaboration was grounded in building connections and relationships to prioritize cultivating trust in the partnership over specific outputs; and

(3) aligning to the core values of co-creation – working from a commitment to do things differently and applying an inclusive approach of engagement to integrate perspectives across different sectors and interest groups.

Read the Full Commentary > Real-Time Virtual Support