Real-Time Virtual Support

The Real-Time Virtual Support (RTVS) peer support instant access pathways are intentionally designed to wrap health care supports around the most vulnerable and isolated citizens, communities, and providers by supporting appropriate, timely, culturally safe, and equitable access to care closer to home. RTVS was designed to embed services directly into the edge communities, instead of requiring members of those communities to travel long distances. RTVS pathways provide a transformational, integrated approach to healthcare by addressing health gaps and improving access to comprehensive, culturally appropriate services based on patient and community needs. This includes care for frail patients and patients with chronic illnesses and complex medical needs.  RTVS pathways link patients to longitudinal, patient-centered primary care while engaging provincial, regional, and local communities to transform the existing health system into a circle of care built on trust, relationships, learning, and practice. In addition, RTVS supports rural, remote, and Indigenous healthcare providers with capacity building, education, and outreach activities that add and enhance access to care. 

Our Achievements

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Increased reach of RTVS

RTVS provided support to 110 unique rural communities as of March 31, 2022. The rate of growth has been as much as five new communities per month in recent months. 

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Prevented diversion by supporting Emergency Rooms

Since its launch in April 2020, RTVS has expanded and evolved. One evolution in the past year saw RTVS’s RUDi (Rural Urgent Doctor in-Aid) pathway become the virtual Most Responsible Provider (MRP) for patients in rural Emergency Rooms, in addition to the MRP work they were already doing at nursing stations. Nursing outpost stations are the largest users of RTVS, accounting for over 65% of encounters. 24/7 MRP support has been provided by RTVS Virtual Physicians (VPs) to nurses at these outposts, with 3281 hours of direct support over the 21/22 fiscal year. There are 30 communities where RUDi Virtual Physicians (with Maternity and Babies Advice Line physician back-up) have served as MRP in rural, remote, and First Nations communities:  

  • 25 communities where Virtual Physicians have been MRP for nursing stations  
  • 5 communities where Virtual Physicians have been MRP for Emergency Departments  
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Provided RTVS team training to foster cultural safety

RTVS provided faculty development to foster cultural safety and humility at all levels of the program. Opportunities provided through the RTVS “Fire Department” have allowed providers to enhance their skills and strengthen their ability to provide kind, compassionate, non-judgmental support to peers in the community. The “Fire Department” got its name because it carries out more than just the primary clinical work of an RTVS pathway; it also carries out education, prevention and safety work, similar to a Fire Department. Fire Department work is comprised of four areas:  

  1. Faculty Development: Improving the quality of service of RTVS providers and supporting their onboarding and ongoing commitment to excellence in virtual care.  
  2. Community Outreach: Virtual and in-person to build relationships with rural, remote, and Indigenous community members while actively engaging and onboarding eligible end users to the RTVS pathways. 
  3. Simulation: Activities that model a real-life or hypothetical RTVS situation so that it can be better understood/practiced upon in the event it arises in real life.
  4. Cultural Safety and Humility: All RTVS Virtual Physicians are encouraged to continue their cultural safety and humility journey, and there have been a number of sessions created specifically for RTVS 

Making a Difference

All RTVS providers have been encouraged to attend sessions designed to help inform them on their cultural safety and humility journey.  

Sessions have been led by Harley Eagle, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Anita Charleson-Touchie, and N’alaga / Kaaw Kuuna (Avis O’Brien).  

The feedback from these events has been very positive, with one provider saying: “I have a better understanding of the intergenerational trauma that is being experienced by individuals as a result of colonialism. I have learned new approaches to speaking with patients about their experiences that I will use in my next shifts.”  

The cultural safety and humility journey was mapped out: https://rccbc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/cultural-safety-map.png  

RTVS physician leads and team members will also take part in Compassionate Leadership training with Shawn and Heather Atleo and apply the learnings from their sessions to the program.  

Team Members

Dr. John Pawlovich
Dr. John Pawlovich

Director, REAP and Lead, Telehealth / Virtual Care

Dr. Brydon Blacklaws

Dr. Brydon Blacklaws

RUDi Co-Lead

Dr. Jeff Beselt

Dr. Jeff Beselt

RUDi Co-Lead

Dr. David Wensley

Dr. David Wensley

CHARLiE Lead

Dr. Amy Sawchuk

Dr. Amy Sawchuk

MaBAL Co-Lead

Dr. Keeve deVilliers,

Dr. Keeve deVilliers,

MaBAL Co-Lead

Dr. Dana Hubler
Dr. Dana Hubler

Fire Department Co-Lead

Dr. Matt Petrie

Dr. Matt Petrie

Fire Department Co-Lead

Kim Williams

Kim Williams

Networks Director

Katrina Bepple

Katrina Bepple

Manager, Partnerships and Engagement

Lee Yeates, RM
Lee Yeates, RM

MaBAL Midwifery Lead

Erika Belanger

Erika Belanger

Project Coordinator & Data Analyst

Tom Skinner

Tom Skinner

Project Manager

Dave Harris

Dave Harris

Technical Lead

Rebecca Connop Price

Rebecca Connop Price

Communications Officer

Justin Kielesinski

Justin Kielesinski

Finance Coordinator

Arianna Hogan

Arianna Hogan

Executive Assistant

Melanie Harrop

Melanie Harrop

Virtual MOA

Aleah Loa

Aleah Loa

Virtual MOA