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  • Winnipeg Tribune

Changes Like This will Help to Give us More Time to do What we Love - Doctors Manitoba

Wednesday, December 14, 2022 - The Government of Manitoba is utilizing technology that will help more patients with consistent and timely emergency care by offering health-care providers in rural, northern and some Winnipeg facilities improved access to specialist consultation for clinical advice and transfer of patients.

Doctors are wasting time on inefficient administrative tasks, but to do what we love, and that's providing medical care to Manitobans.” - Dr. Candace Bradshaw, president, Doctors Manitoba

A single point of contact, the provincial Virtual Emergency Care and Transfer Resource Service (VECTRS) is a centralized and co-ordinated source for clinical guidance and patient transport support. The service will respond to calls from urgent care centres including those in Winnipeg, rural emergency departments, health facilities and nursing stations across the province as well as ERS teams in need of consultation and specialist advice, the minister noted. The virtual service be staffed by emergency physicians, advanced care paramedics and advanced practice respiratory therapists to provide 24-7 emergency care and transport advice in co-ordination with on-call specialists while co-ordinating referrals and prioritizing patient transfers to the most appropriate location for ongoing care.

“With the ability to connect with emergency care specialists virtually, health-care providers can receive medical advice immediately for the patients in their care who are suffering from an emergent life, limb or vision threatening condition, or another acute change in their health status,” said Dr. Rob Grierson, chief medical officer of ERS with Shared Health. “With this new model of care, emergency care teams can spend less time determining where they should bring a patient, less time arranging the transport of patients, and more time focusing on the care of their patients.”

"This service is especially beneficial for rural health-care providers working in emergency departments as it will provide rapid virtual support and consultation with an emergency specialist who can help with the care plan of critically ill patients. This advice will help determine appropriate transfer locations better and, in some instances, may prevent an unneeded transfer altogether. As well, this service will help minimize the amount of time a rural health-care provider spends co-ordinating transfer plans," said Dr. Denis Fortier, regional lead of medical services and chief medical officer, Southern Health-Santé Sud. "Ultimately, the Virtual Emergency Care and Transfer Resource Service will support the best and most appropriate care closer to home, while ensuring safe management and co-ordinated transfer of patients requiring more advanced critical care. This in turn leads to better patient outcomes and supports our valuable rural health-care providers.”

Clinically complex and high priority inter-facility transfers will be supported, triaged and co-ordinated through VECTRS, ensuring timely access to air and/or ground transport for patients in need of transfer to an appropriate facility that can support care needs. The VECTRS team will offer clinical guidance and oversight throughout complex patient moves, removing the current requirement for facility-based physicians to co-ordinate these transfers with receiving sites.

“This new service will make it easier for doctors to consult emergency medicine specialists and arrange urgent patient transfers between hospitals, and we hope to see it expand in short order to include other specialists too,” said Dr. Candace Bradshaw, president, Doctors Manitoba. “Doctors are wasting time on inefficient administrative tasks, but changes like this will help to give us more time to do what we love, and that's providing medical care to Manitobans.”

Less urgent inter-facility transfers will continue to be triaged and co-ordinated by the Shared Health ERS Medical Transportation Coordination Centre and the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Communications Centre.

VECTRS is anticipated to be up and running in May 2023 in advance of trauma season.

This service is part of a broader $200-million health human resource action plan announced by the Manitoba government last month to retain, train and recruit health-care staff across the province and strengthen the health-care system for Manitobans, the minister noted.


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