Meet Cindy Vilcek. She's an RPN who has worked at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre for more than 34 years. She is the hospital's Telemedicine Co-ordinator. Cindy co-ordinates consults with physicians at Thunder Bay Regional with their patients in the region and patients from Thunder Bay with specialists from southern Ontario, through online video conferencing.
"The Thunder Bay Hospital's catchment area is one of the largest in Ontario, and possibly in the country, serving a geography the size of France. It's not easy to visit your doctor or a specialist who lives miles away. So instead of travelling a long distance for a 15-minute doctor's appointment, a consult can be arranged through video conferencing where you would talk to your healthcare specialist on a video screen. It's just like a regular appointment as if you were sitting right across from them in their office."
"My job is to facilitate the consult between the doctor and the patient. If a physician from Thunder Bay has a scheduled clinic and has several consults to see patients in the region, my job is to monitor the time, keep them on track and organized. This could mean faxing prescriptions and requisitions for tests required for the patient. If a patient is to have a consult with a specialist from southern Ontario then I may have to do an assessment which could include monitoring their vital signs. "
"We also have an interesting program called Family Tele-Visitation. Patients at Thunder Bay Regional can request a family visit with loved ones through video conferencing, bringing them much closer to the bedside. It's not easy for some family members to visit their loved ones in the hospital due to distance. This program provides them with this opportunity and it has been very successful.”
Telemedicine video conferencing has made it much easier for patients and their families to consult with physicians and it seems that more physicians are using this technology, especially through their personal computers.
"I am proud to be part of the Telemedicine team and look forward to new advancements in technology."
Nurses like Cindy Vilcek are driving new technological change in the frontiers of medicine. To learn more about nurses like Cindy, visit SEIU's Nursing Week webpage.