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November 12, 2015 09:00 ET

TELUS Health and Doctors of the World Bring Innovative Health IT and Care to Montreal's Disadvantaged Citizens

Canada's first mobile health clinic cared for more than 3,000 Montrealers; connected 800 homeless to health care system

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Nov. 12, 2015) - With more than 3,000 homeless in Montreal, many of whom are without regular or direct access to medical care, Canada's first mobile health care clinic has made an indelible mark. Powered by TELUS Health and Doctors of the World, two organizations embracing community giving and using technological innovations to build a better health care system in Canada, a hyper-local mobile health clinic launched in June 2014 has enabled more than 3,000 medical acts such as vaccinations, screening tests and general health examinations; and reintegrated more than 800 of Montreal's disadvantaged community back into the public health system.

Treating populations who live on the street presents unique challenges. Most individuals are at a higher risk of vulnerability for serious physical and mental illnesses and they typically have no previous medical history to reference. The travelling health vehicle, which is divided into two main areas: one for patient reception and nursing care; and a second more spacious area with an examination table and a doctor's workstation, is equipped with TELUS LTE Wi-Fi network connectivity and TELUS Health electronic medical record (EMR) solutions. This technology allows onboard doctors and nurses to collect and store data, examine results over time and treat patients with undocumented medical histories for better continuity of care.

"We know that health IT has the power to transform not only the way we deliver health solutions, but also the health outcomes Canadians receive today; particularly for those across the country who don't have direct access to health services and often go untreated," says Paul Lepage, president of TELUS Health. "Working with Doctors of the World, we have demonstrated how this innovative approach to leveraging mobile technology can benefit our local communities and serve as a successful model for others to follow. This is simply one of the ways that TELUS is evolving how Canadians can expect to receive care in this country."

It is estimated that between 150,000 to 300,000 Canadians are homeless, and as temperatures begin to drop and we prepare for the harsh Canadian winter season ahead, caring for those on the street will become even more critical.

A study of homelessness in Canada revealed that homeless Canadians visit a medical clinic an average of 10 times a year; more than 75 per cent had been to a hospital emergency room and 31 per cent had been admitted to hospital to treat severe illness.

These statistics highlight two major concerns for health care professionals:

  • The need to provide more dedicated primary health services to the homeless and
  • Tracking a patient's health information will be instrumental in giving health care providers full access to their health care history.

"All Canadians deserve proper medical care regardless of his or her lifestyle; that is the founding principle of Doctors of the World," says Nicolas Bergeron, president of Doctors of the World. "Our mobile clinic allows us to reach disadvantaged people directly where they live and our partnership with TELUS Health now allows us to enhance our offering to provide patients with personalized and preventive care. Beyond just offering medical support, Doctors of the World and many contributing partners are working together to build bridges with the public health system."

TELUS Health and Doctors of the World are exploring how to expand the initiative across the country in other major Canadian cities where homeless, immigrants with precarious status, sex workers and other marginalized groups can also benefit from better care.

About TELUS Health

TELUS Health is a leader in telehomecare, electronic medical and health records, consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management. TELUS Health solutions give health authorities, providers, physicians, patients and consumers the power to turn information into better health outcomes. For more information about TELUS Health, please visit telushealth.com.

About Doctors of the World Canada

Doctors of the World Canada is an NGO founded in 1999. It is part of a large international network whose mission is to provide and promote access to health care for those who are excluded and vulnerable, both in Canada and abroad. Doctors of the World's international network comprises 15 delegations in 15 countries that campaign for the right to health care and are active in their own countries and in some 60 developing countries.

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