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Partner Profile: FNHC - Panorama Project Takes eHealth Local

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The Pathways to Technology initiative continues to pave the way for digital revolutions in health care for First Nations throughout BC and is taking strides towards their goal of providing reliable high-speed internet connectivity to all First Nations in the province.

The initiative, managed by All Nations Trust Company in collaboration with the First Nations Health Council and the First Nations Technology Council with funding from the Province of BC and Health Canada, is a key piece of the puzzle in raising the socio-economic bar for communities.

The First Nations Panorama Implementation Project (FNPIP) is a great example of communities pushing forward in eHealth development with the ultimate goal of taking better control of their health care needs.

"For years Community Health Nurses working in First Nations health centres could not access the provincial information repository for communicable disease control which includes immunization data. This has made their job and the task of providing safe quality care more difficult. With the new Panorama public health information management tool being implemented in BC there is a significant opportunity for the integration of community-level First Nations public health processes and information with that of the larger BC health care community,” said Mark Sommerfeld, Community and Organizational Development Co-ordinator with the FNPIP.

"The FNPIP is taking a community-driven partnership approach. Twenty-eight First Nations health services organizations are taking part in the 'Group One' implementation initiative and will be leading their own individual Panorama implementation projects with the FNPIP team playing supporting roles."  

"A key part of this approach is a comprehensive Implementation Toolkit, developed by the FNPIP team, that will progressively assist the community project teams to move through their implementation process,” added Sommerfeld.

The FNPIP is a Tripartite eHealth project funded by Health Canada and hosted by the BC Centre for Disease Control that is working closely with the larger provincial Panorama Implementation Project with BC Health Authorities and the Ministry of Health. FNPIP represents an important and tangible eHealth implementation that will leverage the larger infrastructure developments around network and connectivity.

The efforts of First Nations health service organizations in taking on the implementation of Panorama, and its use by nurses in health centres, will have a significant impact on improving health outcomes for First Nations people and in chipping away unnecessary jurisdictional barriers in the provision of quality care.

The FNPIP is in the early stages of working through the implementation toolkit with a number of community based implementation teams. To date the Saulteau First Nations, Nak’azdli First Nation, Lax Kwalaams Health, Penticton Indian Band, Ulkatcho First Nation, Three Corners Health Society, Ktunaxa Nation Health and Cowichan Tribes are starting to move forward in setting up their implementation projects. 

In particular the Saulteau and Nak’azdli First Nation have achieved their first milestones of site implementation Project Charters and are receiving accolades for their efforts.significant impact on improving health outcomes for First Nations people and in chipping away unnecessary jurisdictional barriers in the provision of quality care.

"The Saulteau and Nak’azdli First Nations should be congratulated for their work to date. There’s really no cookie cutter solution for the different regions we are working in, each community has such different wants and needs to use the technology for health purposes,” said Steven Raphael, eHealth Development Co-ordinator with the First Nations Health Council of BC.

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Health officials from the Saulteau First Nations and FNPIP representatives met recently to discuss the project’s implementation in the community. 

Left to Right: FNPIP Community & Organizational Development Coordinator Mark Sommerfeld, FNPIP Project Manager Karl Mallory, Saulteau First Nations Community Health Nurse Gale Kiraly, former Saulteau First Nations Health Director Doreen L’Hirondelle, and eHealth Development Co-ordinator Steven Raphael.

"It’s really a community-driven, nation-based process. With the remoteness of some communities, even the basics of having reliable sources of power are challenges that we are dealing with, but there are great steps being taken in projects like the FNPIP and others,” Raphael added.

Group I Sites for the BC First Nations Panorama Implementation Project:

  • Hartley Bay Nursing Station
  • Kitsumkalum Health
  • Port Simpson Nursing Station
  • Bella Coola
  • Carrier Sekani Family Services
  • Hailika`as Heiltsuk Health Centre
  • Lake Babine
  • Ulkatcho Indian Band
  • Ktunaxa Nation Health
  • Lillooet Health Centre
  • Okanagan Indian Band
  • Penticton Indian Band Wellness Centre
  • Quatsino First Nation
  • Scw`exmx Community Health Services Society
  • Seabird Island Health Services
  • Sto:Lo Nation
  • Three Corners Health Services Society
  • Westbank First Nation
  • Chehalis Health Service
  • Pauquachin First Nation
  • Ts`ewulhtun Health Centre
  • Tseycum Health
  • Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
  • Tla`Amin Community Health Services
  • Escetemc First Nation

 With invaluable educational resources, access to the Internet also opens up cultural and employment opportunities for all citizens and gives local businesses the tools they need to market their services around the world.

Led by and for First Nations communities the initiatives being taken are not only benefiting their own communities but are responsible for enhancing the quality of life for many rural citizens in the province where infrastructure is lacking.

The Pathways project continues to work with a shared vision to improve the quality of life of all First Nations in British Columbia, enhancing health care in rural communities and molding generations to become the electronic leaders of tomorrow.

Posted: February 15, 2012