SUDBURY – Louise Paquette (pictured), Chief Executive Officer of the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN), has been honoured with an inaugural Champions of Telemedicine Award from the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). The award was given for her work in helping more Northerners access care through telemedicine technology.
“In her role as CEO, she has spearheaded the use of telemedicine across the region and was a key player in the development of OTN in the North,” said Dr. Ed Brown, OTN’s founder and chief executive officer, upon presenting her the award at the NE LHIN’s Sudbury office.
The NE LHIN has the most active telemedicine sites of all LHINs at 300 – an amount which has expanded more than five-fold since 2007. The NE LHIN has supported the expanded use of this technology by funding telemedicine nursing positions, partnering with OTN to host forums on its use, and promoting initiatives that make use of its technology like Telehomecare.
The NE LHIN is one of the early adopters of Telehomecare. So far, more than 1,500 Northerners have participated in the program which pairs people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure, with nursing coaches and remote sensing technology to learn how to better self-manage their chronic conditions.
Not only does Telehomecare improve quality of life for its users, it also helps them to avoid unnecessary trips to a hospital’s emergency department or hospitalization.
“As a Northerner, I know that it isn’t always easy to access specialist care without having to spend time and money travelling,” said Paquette. “Making better use of technology to deliver healthcare is our Northern ticket to increasing access to care closer to home.”
OTN’s 16 inaugural Champions of Telemedicine, including Paquette, were featured in a recent Globe and Mail article.
“Ontario’s healthcare system wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for the leadership of providers across the province who have adopted new technologies to improve care delivery,” said Dr. Brown. “While OTN works hard to steward technology, our providers are working even harder, integrating this technology into their practice so their patients can receive the right care in the right place.”
OTN’s front-line staff, team and community partners were asked to submit nominations for the award to be reviewed by OTN’s senior leadership team. As Dr. Brown explained, the Champions of Telemedicine are “the real heroes of our healthcare system.”