A new walk-in clinic using telemedicine will open in Fort St. John two days a week, which could remove some of the burden from the only other walk-in clinic in town.
Earlier this week, LiveCare — a health company based out of Vancouver — said they plan to expand their operations to Fort St. John.
The company currently operates a clinic in Taylor.
The clinic will employ a model similar to the one used in Taylor, said Marilyn Lawrie, operations manager.
The clinic is expected to improve access to medical services in the city. While there is an unattached patient clinic in Fort St. John, appointments are usually made two or three months in advance. The only clinic with a walk-in service often reaches its daily capacity shortly after opening its doors in the morning.
The LiveCare clinic will operate out of the Pure North building, on 10707 101st Avenue. It will take patients from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. then from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., two days a week — Monday and Friday.
Lawrie said her clinic is expanding to the community due to demand for walk-in services.
This clinic will use telemedicine, where a doctor elsewhere in the province can see the patient in Fort St. John through videoconferencing. A trained assistant will then use other bits of technology to allow the doctor to measure a patient's heart rate or take other measurements.
For Lawrie, telemedicine offers certain advantages.
“We can bring doctors through telemedicine we otherwise wouldn’t have,” she said. “Recruiting [doctors] to the Northeast is difficult.”
Lawrie said that the doctor can easily compare pictures taken at one visit and then compare it to the most current status.
Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman said she has known about the possibility of LiveCare setting up here for months, and that she intended to meet with them on Friday.
“I see any additions to healthcare services in the community as being positive.”