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Wound care nurses providing virtual care

Technology continues to play a growing and important role in how our CCAC provides quality patient care. Care coordinators and clinicians alike are already using smartphones, notebooks and laptops to securely access patient records from cars, patient homes and remote locations throughout northeastern Ontario. 

Now enterostomal therapy (ET) nurses are using similar technology to better serve their patients and service providers. Recently, Sudbury-based ET Nurse Loretta Micelotta was called upon by in-home nursing staff to consult on a patient's wound status. Through a secure connection, the nurses uploaded a photo of the wound and Loretta was able to speak with the nurses about their concerns and provide treatment recommendations on the spot, without scheduling a visit or incurring travel time.  

"It was a very clear image and provided a view that was equal to what I would have seen in the patient's home," enthuses Loretta. "With the secure line, I can now help patients anywhere in the North. It's very exciting!" 

Not only is this technology facilitating 'real-time' patient care conferencing, the photos become part of the patient's electronic health record, allowing care coordinators and wound specialists to track a patient's healing history and compare changes to the wound over time. 

"In the past, our typical process would be to provide verbal descriptions and use follow up questions in order to form a mental picture of the wound," says Loretta. "Clearly this new process will result in greater efficiencies. I am definitely looking at putting this into practice more frequently."

Clinical Services Manager Melissa Pretty is equally excited about the possibilities and confirms that the use of technology will help to extend the reach of the CCAC's small team of ET nurses. "This will certainly enhance our wound care program," she affirms, "but our patients are the ones who will ultimately benefit, and that is always our goal with any new initiative."