A new program offered for surgical programs at Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS) is allowing patients to get the follow-up care they need from the comfort of their own home.
Patients who have had surgery at either of the hospital’s two hospital campuses – Rouge Valley Centenary (RVC) in east Toronto and Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering (RVAP) in Durham Region – can choose to have their post-surgery follow-up appointment done via Skype, a popular software application that allows users to make voice and video calls over the Internet. The appointment is done with a nurse from the hospital’s pre-operative assessment clinic in the ambulatory care unit (ACU) at RVAP
The service, which has been offered at RVAP for Rouge Valley patients since last November, allows patients to stay at home and do their follow-up appointment over Skype with the nurse. The idea to use the service came about when RVAP ACU and surgical program staff were brainstorming ways in which to improve the patient experience for surgical patients.
How is works
The patient is given instructions on how to set up Skype during their pre-operative assessment clinic appointment at the hospital, before their surgery. A date is then set up to connect with the nurse over Skype. During the appointment, the nurse is able to speak to the patient and address any concerns that they may have. Since they are also able to see each other face-to-face, the nurse is able to see the patient’s progress.
So far, Rouge Valley is the only hospital within the Central East Local Health Integration Network (CE LHIN) and in the Greater Toronto Area to offer post-op follow-up via Skype.
“We’re encouraging more of our patients to take advantage of the Skype option, as it allows the nurse to see how the patient is doing, offering a more comprehensive follow-up appointment. Although it’s an Internet-based service, it still allows for a personalized touch with the patient’s care,” explains Amber Curry, manager of the ACU at RVAP.
After Gordon Regan’s total hip replacement surgery in November, the Ajax resident and grandfather of two became one of the first patients at Rouge Valley to have their follow-up done over Skype. “I think having Skype available for patients is great, especially if the patient lives in a remote area or is unable to travel. It was easy to use, and certainly a great option,” he says.
While Skype follow-up appointments don’t replace patient visits, it’s a helpful option for patients who are unable to travel to the hospital. Patients can still opt for traditional appointments in the ACU.