Nova Scotia unveils an Innovation Hub space

The Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub is a space for people in health care to collaborate on providing better health care.

The space allows partnerships with health-care staff, researchers, industry innovators and government to address the challenges that exist in Nova Scotia’s health-care system.

The hub is focused on improving and developing new technology, accelerating clinical trials and tackling waitlists by expanding virtual care.

“It’s all a part of a plan to make sure we can change health care for generations,” explained Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Michelle Thompson, said the hub will also help with bringing in health-care providers and retention.

“It will help us retain people who have really good ideas and need to feel support in the care they are delivering and keeps us cutting edge,” said Thompson.

According to the province, 15 per cent of Nova Scotian’s are waiting for a family doctor or nurse practitioner.

As of June 1, there are 148,431 people on the province’s primary care waitlist.

Karen Oldfield, the interim president and CEO of Nova Scotia Health, said the space will help eliminate the growing waitlist in the province.

“Every company, every innovation has a piece and taken as a whole they can really help us destroy the waitlists and the different kinds of waitlists we have,” said Oldfield.

Cornelia Schneider and her family lost their family doctor months ago. Now she’s among the hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians on the waitlist.

During this time, Schneider has been using virtual care like Maple, or going directly to the ER for any health concerns that come up. However, that is not cutting it for Schneider.

“There’s a little bit of worry in the background that there might be important medical things that we miss because we don’t look after in a consistent and continuous way,” she said.

More recently, Schneider had to take his son to the ER for an ear infection, something he would not have had to do if he had a family doctor.

“We were suspecting an ear infection and we can’t do that over Zoom. Someone has to have a look in the ear and check out what’s going on and then make a prescription based off of an assessment on what’s going on,” said Schneider.

Doctors Nova Scotia expanding virtual health care is just one piece of the puzzle, more needs to be done.

“We need to look at paying. It doesn’t have to meet the national pay scale but enough for people to want to move to Nova Scotia,” said Dr. Colin Audain, President of Doctors Nova Scotia.

So far, Nova Scotia Health has partnered with more than 70 different health-care groups, which includes Virtual Hallway.

The group provides doctors and specialists with a platform to discuss patient care.

This would eliminate patients from having to book appointments with a specialist in order to be cared for — depending on the health concerns.

“We noticed that 84 per cent of patients did not have to go through with seeing a specialist,” said founder Dr. Daniel Racec.

For more Nova Scotia news, visit our dedicated provincial page.

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