Atlantic Telehealth Knowledge Exchange
AbstractAtlantic Canada has some of the earliest, most comprehensive, well-established networks, and innovative applications for telehealth in the country. The region offers a range of models for telehealth, in terms of management structure, coordination, funding, equipment, utilization, and telehealth applications. Collectively, this diversity, experience, and wealth of knowledge can significantly contribute to the development of a knowledge base for excellence in telehealth services. There is no formal process in place for the sharing of information amongst the provinces. Information sharing primarily occurs informally through professional contacts and participation in telehealth organizations. A core group of organizations partnered to develop a process for knowledge exchange to occur. This type of collaborative approach is favored in Atlantic Canada, given the region's economy and available resources. The Atlantic Telehealth Knowledge Exchange (ATKE) project centred on the development of a collaborative structure, information sharing and dissemination, development of a knowledge repository and sustainability. The project is viewed as a first step in assisting telehealth stakeholders with sharing knowledge about telehealth in Atlantic Canada. Significant progress has been made throughout the project in increasing the profile of telehealth in Atlantic Canada. The research process has captured and synthesized baseline information on telehealth, and fostered collaboration amongst telehealth providers who might otherwise have never come together. It has also brought critical awareness to the discussion tables of governments and key committees regarding the value of telehealth in sustaining our health system, and has motivated decision makers to take action to integrate telehealth into e-health discussions.