Government of Saskatchewan
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       Thursday, April 24, 2014
Saskatchewan! Healthy people. A healthy province.

How is my Telehealth appointment booked?

If you are referred to a health care provider in another city by your family physician he or she can request the appointment occur using a Telehealth consultation. Ultimately it will be up to the physician who you will be seeing whether the appointment can be completed using videoconferencing technology.

Some appointments are not appropriate for videoconferencing. The College of Physicians and Surgeons sets practice standards for doctors which may prevent him or her from seeing you over Telehealth for certain appointments. For example, an initial assessment for diagnosis sometimes requires an in person office visit.

If a Telehealth appointment is appropriate, the health care provider's office will complete a referral to the nearest regional Telehealth department.

A time and date will be set for your appointment, and you will receive an appointment letter, and a Telehealth Coordinator will contact you a few days prior to your appointment to answer any questions. Depending on the health concern, the Coordinator may be asked by the health care provider to collect information from you, such as your height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar level.

What happens in a Telehealth appointment?

A Telehealth appointment is very similar to a regular visit to your family physician. However, the health care provider you will be seeing and talking to will be on a television screen.

Before you arrive, the health care provider will have already received information about you from your family physician's office. Your family physician may ask you to bring additional test results or x-rays with you to the appointment. You should receive an information pamphlet from your referring health care provider outlining what to expect during the appointment. You will check in at your local Telehealth site just as you would with other medical appointment, and be met by a Telehealth Coordinator.

The Telehealth Coordinator will:

  • Describe Telehealth and how it works.
  • Review the process for patient health records. That all information is kept confidential and that you have the option to travel for the visit rather than seeing the health care provider over Telehealth.

Who is with me during an appointment?

A trained health care provider may be with you in the room. Family members or a friend may also be present if you wish and if the health care provider agrees it is appropriate.

The Telehealth Coordinator may also be present in the room to act as the "hands" for the health care provider and operate the cameras, microphone, and other equipment as necessary.

Who will be examining me?

The health care provider who will be examining you will be part of the hospital health care team and will most likely come from the referral centre closest to you. You will be able to see, hear and talk to them on a television screen, and they will also be able to see, hear and talk to you.

How long does a Telehealth appointment take?

An appointment typically lasts between 10 minutes and an hour, depending on the type of examination, and whether or not you have seen the health care provider previously.

How private is a Telehealth examination?

Your Telehealth examination will be entirely private and confidential. It can only be seen and heard by those directly involved in the consultation.

Telehealth Saskatchewan is committed to maintaining the privacy of your personal health information at the local site, and in any transfer of information to your health care provider.

You will be introduced to all of the individuals present in your examination room. Their roles in the Telehealth clinic will be explained to you prior to the appointment. You have the right to request that non-essential people be excluded from your video consultation

.Any information about you or your health care will be: a) collected, b) recorded, c) stored, d) used or e) disclosed in accordance with the regional health authorities involved, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Saskatchewan), and the Health Information Protection Act (Saskatchewan).

How private is the Telehealth system?

Saskatchewan Health has developed its own extremely secure, private network on Community Net, which can only be accessed by authorized users at Saskatchewan Health and the regional health authorities. Community Net is a world-class, high-speed, digital internet system that has the following safeguards: intrusion detection, the latest industry security services, and firewalls.

Do patients feel satisfied with their Telehealth consultations?

Yes. In a recent survey, 96% of Telehealth Saskatchewan patients rated their Telehealth experience as good to excellent, and 100% of patients indicated that they would use Telehealth again, and would recommend it to others. Patients also report that they believe Telehealth Saskatchewan is very innovative.

Patients reported that they found videoconferencing to be much more convenient than traveling to another city to see their doctor. They rate the service provided by staff very highly. Some patients even comment that during a Telehealth appointment, they almost forget that the doctor is not in the same room.

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