'Virtual waiting room' could drop ambulance off-load times: fire paramedic chief
Jeff Keele, CTV Winnipeg
Published Friday, January 30, 2015 12:00PM CST
Last Updated Friday, January 30, 2015 7:11PM CST
Winnipeg's fire paramedic chief said the creation of a "virtual waiting room" in a patient's own house could help curb off-load ambulance wait times.
The City of Winnipeg fines the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority if paramedics have to wait with patients in an emergency department for more than an hour when there is no space available.
As CTV reported Tuesday, numbers show in 2014 paramedics waited nearly 14,000 hours beyond that 60-minute benchmark, costing the WRHA $1.6 million. That's an increase from the year before.
Chief John Lane said the service is exploring a model that would see stable patients monitored in their homes by a community paramedic, until space opened up at an ER.
Lane said technology exists so devices such as heart and blood pressure monitors could be used on patients in their houses while being observed in person or remotely by the paramedic.
Lane said, to his knowledge, this is not done anywhere in Canada and he could not put a price tag on the program.