Connected

Virtual care news and views

May 25, 2018

Improving quality of life for chemo patients: Dr. Bryn Pressnail

By: Gillian Wansbrough

Case Study

A 40-minute drive to access care might not seem prohibitive. But for a patient who has had a leg amputated, is diabetic, and is obese, travel is extremely difficult.

To make life easier, Dr. Bryn Pressnail, Medical Oncologist at Royal Victoria Hospital’s Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre in Barrie, began seeing the patient described above via secure videoconferencing – or eVisit — at a telemedicine studio close to her home.

“Telemedicine has been great for her, because the features I’m most interested in are how she’s feeling and how she’s looking,” says Dr. Pressnail, noting that a telemedicine nurse is present to share any more detail that may be needed. “So, the patient’s number of visits to the Centre for dealing with her condition are quite limited. It has just been outstanding for her.”

Many people don’t have the financial or personal resources – drivers and family to help them out – to get to distant appointments, and telemedicine can really be a great solution, says Dr. Pressnail.

He identified the burden of unnecessary patient travel associated with cancer treatment a few years back, specifically tied to the fact that active chemotherapy patients were often making the trip to the Centre to follow up on blood tests only to be sent home when blood counts were low, and needing to return in the following weeks. Now they can review blood tests at a telemedicine studio in a healthcare facility near home.

Dr. Pressnail tells healthcare providers: “Try it. You’ll like it. It works. Patients love it and ask about it. They embrace it. They find it’s a great thing for them and providers find real value in it too.”

To read more about this model of care, and how telemedicine can work for you, visit the eVisit Reduces Patient Travel for Medical Oncology Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program case study.

About the author: Gillian Wansbrough is a writer and the editor of Connected, as well as manager of communications at OTN.

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