McGuinty Government Expands Healthcare Access In Far North Communities
The Northern Ontario Remote Telecommunications Health (NORTH) Network is a telemedicine project developed by public and private sector partners including First Nations' communities, patient care programs, hospitals and research, technology and education organizations, as well as the provincial and federal governments. It is administered through Sunnybrook Hospital and Women's College Health Sciences Centre. The network began in northeastern Ontario as a two-year telemedicine pilot project in March 1998.
Medical services include live patient consultations by physicians or other health professionals using two-way video and medical instruments such as a digital electronic stethoscope and patient examination cameras. Links are made with specialists in Northern Ontario whenever possible before patients are referred to southern physicians.
Ontario government funding contributes to capital expenditures such as telemedicine workstations with videoconferencing and consultation equipment, patient examination cameras, digital radiology hardware/software and other medical devices.
Expansion of telehealth services in the Far North will allow full integration with the Northern Ontario Medical School by facilitating learning opportunities in northern communities, and supporting the ongoing professional development of health care staff stationed in the Far North.
The following 19 First Nations will receive telehealth services during this phase of the project:
- Bearskin Lake
- Cat Lake
- Kingfisher Lake
- Lac Seul
- Muskrat Dam
- Sachigo Lake
- Sandy Lake
- Slate Falls
- Wunnumin Lake