Several RTVS pathways are patient-facing. These virtual services mean patients in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities who may not have a family doctor may not need to visit an ER or nursing station when they are sick, lessening the patient wait times at these sites. The First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day, offered by the First Nations Health Authority, provides care to Indigenous people in BC and their families (even if not Indigenous). In addition, any rural, remote, and First Nations person may be connected to an RTVS Virtual Physician on the HEiDi (HealthLink BC Emergency iDoctor-in-assistance) pathway when they call HealthLink BC (8-1-1).
First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day
This service is for Indigenous people of all ages in BC and their family members, including family members who are not Indigenous. People who do not have a doctor of their own or have lost access can call to book an appointment and connect with a doctor by video or phone as soon as the same day.
The service enables access to culturally-safe, primary health care closer to home and includes doctors of Indigenous ancestry. All doctors are trained in the principles and practices of cultural safety and humility. The service is available seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 1-855-344-3800 to book an appointment. More information is available through the First Nations Health Authority.
First Nations Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service
This referral-based service provides adults and youth with access to specialists in addictions medicine and psychiatry, as well as mental health and wellness care coordinators.
It is available at no cost to Indigenous people in BC and their family members, including family members who are not Indigenous. The service welcomes referrals from trusted health and wellness providers, Knowledge Keepers and Elders.
If a client needs support and is not attached to a health and wellness provider, they can call the First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day to speak to a doctor about their mental health care needs and receive a referral based on the doctor’s assessment.
Specialists and care coordinators are dedicated to the principles and practices of cultural safety and humility, and to delivering trauma-informed care. Providers can request assistance, or make a referral, by calling 1-833-456-7655. More information is available through the First Nations Health Authority.
Healthlink BC Emergency iDoctor-in-Assistance (HEiDI)
HealthLink BC Emergency iDoctor-in-Assistance (HEiDI) is a physician support service for HealthLink BC 8-1-1. 8-1-1 is a free health information line for patients with non-emergency health inquiries. HEiDi physicians assist 8-1-1 nurses with urgent health inquiries they receive. HEiDi physicians give patients just-in-time information and comfort, and ensure appropriate triage to health services. This discerning triage decreases Emergency Department wait times and can safely refer patients back to their family physicians. HEiDi provides 8-1-1 support from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. More information is available through the Emergency Care BC.
Find our more about our partners and collaborators
Along with our partners across the health sector, the Rural Coordination Centre of BC helped establish the Real-Time Virtual Support program in April 2020. RTVS exists thanks to a strong commitment from all partners to building relationships that will help strengthen provider wellness and patient care and help reduce health inequities.