Bridging the Gap between Patients and Providers through Telehealth in Rural and Remote Regions

Held June 10, 2015 

The fourth of 4 webinars in our Shifting Culture, Shifting Care: From ‘Usual Care’ to Chronic Care Webinar Series. 


Accessing care remains one of the main priorities for Canadians. This is particularly challenging for patients and families living with a chronic disease in a rural area. They are often required to travel long distances, which is inconvenient, costly and risks worsening their underlying conditions.

In Canada and internationally, there is growing interest in finding innovative ways of redesigning health services to move from a hospital-centric model of care to one that truly meets the needs of patients. This change will require healthcare organizations to redesign their approach to chronic disease management, ensuring that patients receive the right care, at the right time and at the right place.

Over the past few decades, technology has helped revolutionize the way care is delivered. Telehealth is one such example: with usage growing at a rate of over 35 percent annually, it is becoming a more mainstream and convenient way of delivering health services.

This webinar features telehealth as a catalyst for better care for those living with certain chronic conditions.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explore the unique challenges of providing good chronic care in rural and remote regions across Canada
  • Share case examples from Canada and internationally using telehealth to support care
  • Learn from the case examples and share strategies for implementing telehealth more widely within rural and remote regions


Hugh BrownHugh Brown, General Practitioner (GP)/Telehealth Clinical Lead (Primary Care)

Hugh Brown has been a General Practitioner in Dalmellington, Ayrshire from 1993 to present. He was involved in the pilot of telehealth for the last 3 years and involved in United4 Health, a European project on deployment of teleheath on scale for the last 2 years. The local project initially involved patients selected from practice population with history of exacerbations. The European study is recruiting patients on discharge with exacerbations of COPD.

Other interests: Ayrshire and Arran Primary Care Cancer Lead and Local Medical Committee vice chair.

Kenneth BrooksbankKenneth Brooksbank (Kenny), GP Partner, Girvan Community Hospital, Girvan

Kenny graduated with an MBChB from the University of Glasgow in 1995 and he also has an MSc in Respiratory Medicine. Kenny previously worked as a Registrar in Stathaven and within the Hospitals at Crosshouse, Hairmyres and Monklands. He has been a GP in Girvan, South Ayrshire since 2000 where his special interest in Respiratory Medicine was put into use.

Kenny was the Primary Care Clinical Lead for the Co-Creating Health Initiative, funded by the Health Foundation to implement self management support for patients and clinicians. In 2010, Kenny became the Clinical Lead for a pilot telehealth project in South Ayrshire which involves people living with COPD monitoring their condition from home using technology.

Laurie PooleLaurie Poole, Vice President, Telemedicine Solutions at Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN)

Laurie Poole is Vice President, Telemedicine Solutions at Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). In this role she helps bring virtual health care to communities and homes through the oversight and management of some of OTN’s most ambitious projects. Laurie spearheads the Telehomecare program, which delivers care into the homes of people living with chronic disease. OTN’s partners, including hospitals and Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), deliver the actual care, while the OTN designs and manages the process. Laurie also oversees emergency care and ophthalmology at OTN, which have enabled thousands of patients to receive essential care faster and closer to their homes than previously possible.

Laurie is the Vice President, Telemedicine Solutions at the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). For the past 16 years, Laurie has assumed leadership roles with increased responsibility in health system transformation, particularly in the area of chronic disease management. Currently, she is overseeing the implementation of a provincial telehomecare expansion program which is bringing virtual health care to communities and homes. Laurie’s portfolio also supports clinical innovation and other specialty programs.

A registered nurse with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration, Laurie is also the Past President of the Canadian Society of Telehealth (CST). In 2014, Laurie was recognized by the Women’s Executive Network as a top 100 award winner for her contribution to the public sector. She is also involved in a number of community initiatives and sits on the Board of Directors for the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.


claudia-amar-107Claudia Amar, RN, BScN, MHA, Improvement Lead, Collaboration for Healthcare Improvement, Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement

Claudia Amar joined CFHI in 2012 and brings six years of nursing experience, including three years as a COPD clinical case manager at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM). Claudia continues her work in COPD as the co-lead of the INSPIRED Approaches to COPD Care: Improving Care and Creating Value Collaborative - a spread collaborative supporting 19 teams from every province across Canada. She is also the project lead of the evaluation for CFHI's Atlantic Healthcare Collaboration in Chronic Disease - in addition to co-designing and implementing the evaluation, Claudia offers support to the teams involved from across Atlantic Canada. Another noteworthy project is Claudia's leadership of CFHI’s organizational self-assessment tool, Accelerating Healthcare Improvement: CFHI’s Assessment Tool. Claudia holds a Master of Health Administration from the University of Montreal and is also a graduate of the University of Montreal School of Nursing.