May 22, 2024 | ELC, Innovation, Medicine, Our Patients

STARS Virtual Care connects team with patients faster

A composite image showing a doctor demonstrating using the STARS Virtual Care trial to share a live video feed of a mock patient from her phone to the air medical crew onboard a STARS helicopter who are viewing the patient on their phone.

“Our enhanced ability to provide quick and efficient treatment will ultimately save time and lives.” – Cindy Seidl, STARS Chief Clinical Officer and flight nurse

Critical patients may now receive care quicker than ever before thanks to the launch of a virtual care trial by STARS in partnership with Saskatchewan Health Authority.

STARS Virtual Care allows transport physicians to be connected to local providers during active missions via a secure video connection. The trial is underway across the province of Saskatchewan.

More specifically, the program allows STARS transport physicians to use a video link to support providers treating critically ill or injured patients, providing immediate assessment, stabilization and treatment support. STARS has chosen to use the GoodSAM platform based on its proven infrastructure, robust privacy standards, and ease of use. It is already in use in Canada and around the world by organizations including British Columbia Emergency Health Services and London Helicopter Emergency Medical Serivces.

“This new tool is allowing us to provide care more precisely and timely, because when I am consulted I can see the problem directly rather than having someone describe it to me over the phone, especially when they can often be in the midst of dealing with a very critical situation,“ said STARS base medical director for Regina and Saskatoon, Dr. Dallas Pearson.

When a local physician connects with STARS through a phone call to our Emergency Link Centre (ELC), their call can be immediately transferred to our transport physicians who are on call 24/7. In addition to providing critical care consultation to local providers, STARS transport physicians also support transport logistics and provide medical support to STARS air medical crews while on missions.

With the call underway, a STARS transport physician can then offer to launch a video consult with the local physician to “see” the patient and provide more nuanced support, diagnosis, and guidance. The transport physician can then send the gathered information to both STARS air medical crews and specialists at the receiving hospital, who can then prepare for the best course of treatment.

“Our commitment to the highest quality of critical care includes always looking for innovative ways to provide care to our patients,” said STARS Chief Clinical Officer and Flight Nurse Cindy Seidl. “This new tool will help our transport physicians and medical crews quickly diagnose the patient and provide stabilization advice while our transport teams are en route. Our enhanced ability to provide quick and efficient treatment will ultimately save time and lives.”

STARS has worked closely with the Saskatchewan Health Authority to ensure that this new tool conforms to the provincial health standards governing virtual care and looks forward to working with them to continue improving this program.

“The Saskatchewan Health Authority is actively expanding virtual services across the health-care system in a connected and cohesive manner,” said Dr. Vern Behl, outgoing senior medical information officer with SHA Digital Health focused on virtual care. “The partnership with STARS is a natural next step in ensuring patients can get the timely care they need, regardless of their circumstances or location.”

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