New telemedicine unit purchased and installed at Gore Bay Medical Centre

Rotary Club, community, praised for efforts in supporting Medical Centre

GORE BAY—Thanks to the support of the Gore Bay Rotary Club, as well as residents and their loved ones in Gore Bay and throughout Western Manitoulin, the fundraising campaign for the new Telehealth telemedicine system at the Gore Bay Rotary Club has been completed and the new system having now been installed and in working order.

“The story here is the work these guys (Gore Bay Rotary Club) did in all their fundraising to make this happen and the great support the residents in the community have provided,” said Dr. Robert Hamilton in displaying the new telemedicine unit while accepting the donation for the equipment from Don Wright, a member of the Rotary club, last week. “The tremendous community support for the medical centre and the doctors here has been the story since the building was first constructed.”

Mr. Wright said most of the funds that were accumulated by the Rotary Club “is from people who make donations in memory of people who pass on (or had been requested by a person who passed on) to the Rotary Club for this type of project. So people from Gore Bay and all over Western Manitoulin have contributed,” he said.

Mr. Wright noted the fundraising campaign target for the equipment had been about $22,000 “and it was a little short so the Rotary Club put in the balance of about $2,000.”

“This is the third generation (telemedicine) unit that has been installed here,” said Dr. Hamilton, who providing an article in the Recorder dated May 10, 2002 detailing when the first unit had been installed.

Dr. Hamilton explained the telemedicine unit has screens that show the room in the Gore Bay Medical Centre, where the patient will be consulted with specialists. Another screen shows a doctor in another hospital. A gadget similar to a remote control allows the user to scan the room of the off-Island facility, and the camera can also be controlled by a user at another medical facility.

“It allows patients here to meet with specialists at the referral centre (which could be anywhere),” said Dr. Hamilton. “The whole idea is that patients in Gore Bay and area can see specialists throughout the Ontario Telemedicine Network without having to travel to other places off-Island to have this care and service without the risks and costs of travel.”

“We had Dr. Bob (Hamilton) at our Rotary Club April-May meeting and he explained what was needed with the telehealth system at the medical centre,” said Mr. Wright.

“In the Ontario Telehealth Network there are 4,000 different sites,” said Dr. Hamilton. “The Gore Bay Medical Centre is site No. 18 so we have been basically involved in OTN since it started. The (Manitoulin Health Centre) hospitals in Mindemoya and Little Current have been up and involved since the start as well.”
“The concept of telemedicine is no longer new; we here at the medical centre have been involved in it for 16 years,” said Dr. Hamilton. “It’s established and continues to be very useful. But there are also new things coming down, including an E-consult computer, home video telemedicine from doctors using computers and video-conferencing in patients homes, for example.”

“The equipment we have is still very relevant and important to our medical centre and patients,” stated Dr. Hamilton. “Our doctors are all very grateful to the clubs like the Rotary and community members for all their support over the years,” he added.