Real-Time Virtual Support (RTVS) pathways provide on-demand consultation to support patient care and rural healthcare collaboration. RTVS enables the delivery of timely emergency and urgent patient-centred care closer to home.
These pathways can be accessed by:
- residents in rural and remote communities and BC First Nations citizens
- rural healthcare providers.
Support for Residents in Rural and Remote Communities and BC First Nations Citizens
HEiDi (HealthLink BC Emergency iDoctor-in-assistance)
Virtual HEiDi physicians provide decision support to 8-1-1 nurses on calls with patients to determine how best to address the patients’ concerns, whether to go to emergency/urgent care centres (immediately or within 24 hours) or be safely followed up by the patients’ family physicians. 8-1-1 nurses can also transfer calls that meet specified clinical criteria to a medical office assistant, who will then arrange for a virtual visit or phone call with a HEiDi physician. HEiDi physicians will always encourage patients to follow up with their family physicians or, for those patients who do not have one, refer them to family physicians in their own communities for continuity of care.
First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day
This pathway ensures that First Nations people and their family members can access primary healthcare closer to home. Members of BC First Nations with limited or no access to their own doctors can make virtual appointments by calling 1-855-344-3800 to book an appointment. Medical office assistants are available to help seven days a week from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. For more information, visit fnha.ca/virtualdoctor.
Support for Rural Healthcare Providers
Zoom for Healthcare licenses are available to rural physicians and nurse practitioners. This tool will enable you to reach out virtually to patients and peers. Learn more.
Virtual Locum Service
Locums for Rural BC offers a more flexible approach to locum support, including linking locums with community. Temporary policy and administrative changes are now in place, addressing:
- essential locum assignments
- number of locum days
- support for ALL RSA communities from RGPLP, RGPALP, and RSLP
- locum assistance via Telehealth
The following are accessible by Zoom and/or telephone as noted in the table below. You will need a Zoom account to access the pathways by video. If you require a Zoom account or need assistance, visit our Zoom page.
|RUDi – Rural Urgent Doctor in-aid|
Physicians with emergency medicine and rural experience are available 24/7 by Zoom and phone to support rural healthcare providers looking for support with a patient, including:
• providing a second opinion about a patient
• reviewing a case
• helping to navigate the healthcare system
• providing collaborative support in critical times
• other situations as needed by rural providers
See additional resources
|ROSe – Rural Outreach Support|
Intensivist/critical care specialists are available 24/7 by Zoom, mobile app, and phone to support rural healthcare providers looking for a consultation, second opinion, or ongoing virtual support for patients.
ROSe physicians have expertise in complex, acutely ill patients, and those who are deteriorating. However, they are open to support rural care providers for any patient whom they are concerned about.
See additional resources
ROSe mobile app
Dermatology support for diagnosis, acuity, treatment, and referrals is available on weekdays by Zoom, phone, and text message.
Calls after hours should be directed to the on-call physician/ dermatologist and/or the local ER.
For more information, please email email@example.com.
|Monday to Friday|
9 am to 5 pm
|NH Triage Intensivist|
Triage and intensivist/critical care support for Northern Health care providers
Pathways Flow Chart
This flow chart shows how the Real-Time Virtual Support pathways work and can help determine which pathway is most relevant for healthcare providers and patients at any given time. Download the flow chart.
Real Time Virtual Supports (RTVS) are being created and deployed through the Collaborative Centre for Virtual Health, which was established in 2019. The Centre is jointly supported and led by First Nations Health Authority , Providence Health Care, Provincial Health Services Authority, and the Rural Coordination Centre of BC.
The Centre is guided by a Partnership Pentagram Plus table that includes geographic health authorities, citizens, academia, rural providers, policy makers, and linked sectors. Its work focuses on virtual care, while combating the barriers posed by geography, distance, and weather to address health equity in BC. Through collaboration and enabling innovation and technology, the Centre is improving workflows and care models and is considered to be an “Innovation Accelerator” as described in the Provincial Digital Health Strategy. All of the Centre’s initiatives are locally driven and implemented through partnerships.
There are more pathways being developed to support rural healthcare providers and residents in rural and remote communities in BC. Please check back often to see what new tools are available or subscribe to RCCbc’s eNewsleter to have updates delivered to you. (Please subscribe with a personal email address as health authority servers will likely filter and/or block our newsletter.)
Thanks for serving your communities in the many ways that you do – please let us know if you have ideas of other ways the RCCbc can help you at this time.