Health minister orders review of B.C. telemedicine program

Health Minister Terry Lake said the main goal of the telemedicine review is to ensure the service is high quality and affordable for the health system. Photograph by: NICK PROCAYLO , PNG

Health minister Terry Lake has ordered a sweeping review of telemedicine care in B.C., saying in an interview he’s concerned videoconference visits between patients in one location and doctors in another could become “virtual walk-in clinics” with unsustainable costs on the health care system.

Patients have embraced the technology with gusto as visits covered by the taxpayer-funded Medical Services Plan grew a whopping 735 per cent in the last year alone.

“It’s all about appropriateness. I know the College (of Physicians and Surgeons) also has concerns. And as government, we want to make sure that we contain growing costs,” Lake told The Vancouver Sun.

Pamela Fayerman Reports

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