Improving Critical Care for Patients Across Northwestern Ontario


Article from Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre celebrated over $2 million in funding from the North West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to expand the Regional Critical Care Response Program (RCCR), improving access to critical care services for patients across Northwestern Ontario.

RCCR is an innovative eHealth strategy that leverages Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) to facilitate videoconferencing for real-time assessment of critically ill patients. It connects eleven of the Northwest community Emergency Departments and Intensive Care Units, as well as four remote nursing stations, to critical care trained physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists right here at our Hospital, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our Hospital is home to the only level 3 critical care unit in Northwestern Ontario and is the lead trauma centre within the North West LHIN. As such, patients throughout the region are transferred to Thunder Bay when they require that level of critical care. Through RCCR, regional patients benefit from immediate access to experts in critical care and reduced transport times. It also reduces avoidable and unnecessary patient transfers by providing delivery of care closer to home.

The funding announced today will support a three year pilot project to expand the program and hire additional nurses in order to better support the level of critical care delivered across the region.

Dr. Michael Scott RCCR Program

Dr. Michael Scott, Chief of Critical Care at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre demonstrates the innovative capability of consulting with patients remotely through the Regional Critical Care Program (RCCR).


“The Regional Critical Care Response Program exemplifies Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s commitment to improving access to quality care for the population of Northwestern Ontario. RCCR enables acutely-ill patients to receive care within their communities and prioritize urgent transportation needs for critically-ill patients. In the span of two years, the program has improved transfer times for patients to under four hours by nearly 40%. Critical Care Services Ontario applauds the Hospital’s innovation and the leadership of Dr. Michael Scott who championed this program, which has clearly resulted in improved services for patients.”

Dr. Bernard Lawless, Physician Lead, Critical Care Services Ontario

“I am proud of our Government’s investment in the Regional Critical Care Response Program. This Program, through the use of technology, results in increased access to care for patients in their home communities, as well as improved prioritization of urgent transfers. In addition to improving care for patients, it also reduces the stress placed on families and friends. I commend Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences for developing this innovative approach to critical care which is another example of how it continually strives for improved patient outcomes throughout Northwestern Ontario.”

Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay – Atikokan

“The Regional Critical Care Response Program significantly improves care for our regional patients and their families. This innovative approach enables health care providers to provide timely assessment and management for patients through the use of technology. This program is a meaningful example of how collaboration and partnerships really improve care and experiences for our regional patients by providing quality critical care, closer to home.

Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, Executive Vice President, Patient Care Services, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

“RCCR promotes a culture of patient safety and responsiveness, acute care education, and sharing of best practices. Most importantly, it results in better outcomes for our patients and families through earlier access to specialized treatments, shorter transfer times, and potentially eliminating the need to transfer a patient at all, resulting in exceptional care closer to home. We are grateful to the Northwest LHIN and our Ministry champions for their support throughout the development and now expansion of this critical program.”

Dr. Michael Scott, Chief of Critical Care, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

“The Regional Critical Care Response (RCCR) Program connects care providers in small and rural communities to critical care specialists in Thunder Bay through videoconferencing. In doing so, the RCCR Program continues to play a critical role in the health of people living in Northwestern Ontario. Critically ill patients once stabilized at their community hospital can in certain cases remain in their home community rather than transfer out to a larger Centre. There is great benefit to physicians in the region as they can access assistance of clinical experts 24 hours every day of the week at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. The North West LHIN recognizes the leadership provided by Dr. Michael Scott, Critical Care LHIN Lead for advancing this significant system improvement!”

Laura Kokocinski, CEO, North West Loc al Health Integration Network

“The RCCR program is an invaluable service to not only the Geraldton District Hospital, but the entire region. It allows our patients the opportunity to achieve the best chance at a positive outcome thanks to timely care provided by a specialized team of experts from Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, as well as local practitioners working together and providing exceptional care closer to home.”

Laurie Heerema, Chief Nursing Executive and Director of Patient Services, Geraldton District Hospital

External Links 

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