This report compares three regionally produced models of tele-home care, one (in Toronto) that was operational and the other two (in Calgary and St. John’s) that were theoretical, pinpointing common elements and noting site-specific differences. The project enlisted local hospital and home care personnel to develop the two theoretical tele-home care models by identifying broad service concepts, defining a patient population, pinpointing essential service elements, and making recommendations about technology requirements. The models were then compared with one currently being tested at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The project developed a “blueprint” for a core Canadian tele-home care service that could enable higher-intensity care in the home for up to six months after hospital discharge: establishing an audio-visual connection between the monitoring centre and the patient, monitoring patients at least once a day, and offering tertiary support to the patient and the community care provider. Tele-home care is an adjunct to, not a substitute for, traditional home care. The result was a better understanding of the nature, advantages, and adaptability of a new model of service delivery, which may increase health system efficiency but may also help resolve access issues for patients in rural and remote regions.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.