Telemedicine rolls into local pharmacy

Medview MD opens new medical studio at the Cridge Family Pharmacy

Owner/Pharmacist Jason Cridge stand with signs for MedviewMD medical service offered at the Cridge Family Pharmacy on Fort Street.

It’s not a typical place to go see a doctor.

But in a room at the Cridge Family Pharmacy in downtown Victoria, a registered nurse is waiting to greet patients, conduct an assessment, then pass that information onto a physician or nurse practitioner who will pop into the room on a specialized video conferencing screen.

The physician can be 3,000 kilometres away, but specialized software allows them to do things like listen to a patient’s heartbeat through an electronic stethoscope and otiscope, conduct a physical with an exam cam or simply renew prescriptions.

Created by Medview MD, the new medical studio is the first of its kind to open in Victoria, according to the company’s CEO Dan Nead, who began the service about a year ago after continually hearing about doctor shortages across the country.

“You can get a regular physician and can also connect to a specialty doctor and reduce that wait time. It makes a lot of sense,” said Nead, who believes Medview MD could help ease the doctor shortage and offers a place for the public to see a doctor in a timely manner.

More than 12,000 consultations have been conducted in less than a year at the Ontario-based company’s dozen or so locations in Canada. Six locations are now open across B.C. with more slated to open soon as more doctors get on board.

“It has an impact on everyone…the doctors really love what we offer because it’s a lifestyle change for them. They can work from home, at the cottage, from the existing place of business. It just allows them to better manage their time.”

The telemedicine industry is one that’s been growing across Canada for several years and has largely been used by clinics in rural or remote areas that need access to doctor’s opinions.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority uses Telehealth technology to connect patients to health care services regardless of where they live, and routinely uses the technology for a number of things such as heart health, endocrinology, eating disorders, genetics, primary care, mental health and substance use.

According to Nead, Medview MD is different in that it’s a walk-in or appointment format, and takes place at a set location adjacent to a pharmacy with a registered nurse on hand. The company is also expanding its services beyond primary care into specialties such as dermatology, mental health and addiction.

Dr. Chris Watt, owner of Cook Street Village Medical Clinic, has had some involvement with telemedicine, particularly Medeo’s software, which rolled out in 2013, allowing British Columbians to speak to their doctors by video link without making a trip into an office.

From what he’s heard, Watt believes the latest technology to be rolled out in Victoria is a bit more advanced than earlier telemedicine efforts, but he said it won’t address the shortage of doctors.

“It has its place. It’s a limited role in my opinion,” said Cook. “It will be helpful and it certainly will provide patients with another option for accessing health care during this time.”

Cook calls the doctor shortage in Victoria “a real crisis.” Every day he sees patients who’ve lost their family physician of 20 or 30 years due to a variety of reasons, and he doesn’t believe there are any family doctors in the city currently accepting patients on an ongoing basis.

Watt, however, is encouraged by the stream of graduating medical students who’ve been swinging back to primary care during the last three or four years. Last year more than 50 per cent of graduating medical students were choosing family practice, noted Watt. That number had plummeted to about 23 per cent during the last 10 to 12 years.

“The pendulum does seem to be swinging back and that’s one glimmer of hope that I have,” Watt said. “There’s a grey tsunami of family doctors rapidly approaching retirement. As they step off into retirement, patients will still require care, which will further increase the burden on an already over burdened primary care system.”

editor@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

UPDATED: Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman from Mount Finlayson

Langford and Metchosin respond to roughly four-hour-long rescue

Victoria police pay special attention to domestic violence

Workshop for officers and others shows how domestic abuse trauma impacts for a long time

Storm snuffs out lights on Saanich’s Ten Mile Point

Environment Canada wind warning calls for a brief “respite” before winds of up 90 kilometres resume

Thrilling finish to Royals weekend in Victoria

WHL club hosts Portland for a pair this Friday and Saturday at Save-On Centre

WATCH: Oak Bay hosts inaugural Vancouver Island Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC

Local cops drag multi-media journalists out for a swim ahead of March 11 event

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

B.C. man goes to jail for beating puppy to death

Robert Carolan has also been banned from owning animals for the next ten years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Porch lights turn on for Canadian teen behind #BeccaToldMeTo movement

New Brunswick’s Rebecca Schofield had asked her Facebook followers to perform random acts of kindness

Victoria City rower medals at indoor world championships

Carl Schoch takes 2,000-metre sprint bronze in veteran category

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Saanich Braves earn top awards heading into playoffs

MVP, Coach of Year lead Braves against Kerry Park Islanders starting Tuesday

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Most Read