Northern Health


News Release

TelePICU connects northern pediatric patients with specialist care

April 30, 2018

A year-long collaboration between BC Children’s Hospital and Northern Health is improving access to specialist care for young patients in Terrace, closer to home.

Child Health BC’s tele-pediatric intensive care unit (tele-PICU), is a mobile cart that allows staff at Mills Memorial Hospital to connect with specialists at BC Children’s through real-time, two-way videoconferencing. In November 2017, Terrace became one of two Northern Health sites, and one of nine sites provincially, to join the tele-PICU initiative.

“The partnership between the Provincial Health Services Authority and Northern Health are positioning B.C. as a leader in providing innovative health-care solutions for vulnerable patients in their communities,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “I’m glad to see this work progressing and the youngest patients now receiving the highest quality care comfortably in their home community.”

In March 2018, tele-PICU enabled clinical teams at BC Children’s to work with Mills Memorial care providers to assess a young patient. Using high resolution cameras and clinical procedures, the two sites worked together to care for the patient.

“Having access through tele-PICU to BC Children’s Hospital in real time gave me the confidence to manage the patient within my own community,” said Dr. Zaneta Lim, a pediatrician at Mills Memorial Hospital. “During a medically complex situation, I felt empowered and supported, and I believe the staff and family felt the same.”

This particular collaboration helped ensure the patient was stabilized and able to remain in Terrace for treatment. Through tele-PICU, BC Children’s assured Mills Memorial staff that the patient was stable enough to stay in the community, further eliminating the need for the patient to be transferred to a different location.

“Through tele-PICU, a seriously ill child and their local health care team can immediately access pediatric intensive care sub-specialists. When a child does not need to be transferred to BC Children’s, their family face fewer burdens such as travel costs and time away from work,” said Dr. Maureen O'Donnell, executive director, Child Health BC, BC Children's Hospital. “Tele-PICU also provides a valuable connection between health care providers to share knowledge and best practices.”

Tele-PICU is part of Child Health BC’s Children’s Virtual Care initiative that integrates tele-health and other technologies to enhance services to children throughout BC. These sites include technology and tele-health equipment as well as equipment to support pediatric visits with trained nurses and support staff. 

The University Hospital of Northern BC in Prince George is part of the tele-PICU initiative and Child Health BC and Northern Health continue to create awareness to better serve seriously ill children in the north.