We actively engage and partner with the different communities we work with, with the goal of facilitating the services the communities identify as priorities. This community engagement is how the pediatric program originated in Pelican Narrows.
Since the spring of 2018, we have been providing remote family physician services to the community of Wollaston Lake to supplement the fly-in services provided by the La Ronge Medical Group. This initiative was implemented to address a period of a critical shortage of physicians in La Ronge.
The family physician provides regular weekly remote clinics; in addition, he travels to the community approximately every 4-6 weeks to offer in-person clinics. When travelling to the community, the physician stays an average of 3 to 5 days to provide care, build relationships with the community, and support the nursing team by offering additional training.
This hybrid model of service delivery has proven to be optimal, as it facilitates a continuity of care to a community that is otherwise not available. It became apparent that the community value the RPT clinics, and the decision was made to continue with the initiative. Having the established remote presence in the community has been instrumental during COVID-19, and has meant that there has been no interruption to the service delivery.
Another initiative has physiotherapists working with communities to provide care for chronic lower back pain. The team has had done extensive community engagement, and the community is actively involved in every level of the program development. Following a similar hybrid model to the family medicine approach, the physiotherapists offer a combination of in-person and virtual visits.
We are currently researching the use of telerobotic ultrasonography in the far north. Using state of the art technology, a sonographer located in Saskatoon is able to manipulate an ultrasound probe in real-time on a device in La Loche, Stony Rapids or Pelican Narrows.