The Government of Ontario says that it is rapidly expanding service capacity for Telehealth Ontario to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Starting March 15th, the government is deploying approximately 130 nurses to conduct symptom assessments and referrals among callers who request a callback.
Telehealth has developed a specific training package for newly added nurses to expedite their ability to provide callback support immediately. Telehealth will also increase intake staff to reduce wait times for initial contact with a Telehealth representative.
“By immediately expanding Telehealth’s resources, we can significantly reduce the time it takes for Ontarians to receive the information they need to stay safe and healthy,” said Christine Elliott, Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, in a news release.
The government says it is working with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) to identify support for Telehealth from its 44,000 registered nurse members.
Further, Ontario is also exploring a partnership with organizations which have existing health care call centres to provide symptom assessment for COVID-19 to callers requesting a callback.
In addition to enhancing capacity at Telehealth, the government has approved new physician billing codes to allow doctors to provide routine health care services by video and telephone to assess possible COVID-19 symptoms. This way, patients can remain at home instead of a doctor’s office where they would be in close contact with others.
The government has had to respond to a high volume of calls as the virus continues to spread across the country, and it hopes to implement more measures to deal with the outbreak.
Source: Government of Ontario