Cancer patients in rural and remote areas of British Columbia seeking integrated care will soon have access to a virtual program, the first of its kind in North America.
InspireHealth's virtual program will include a two-day community-based workshop, integrated clinical services and online classes that will leverage personalized social-networking technologies.
After the workshop, patients will receive an in-depth consultation with an integrated physician. Ongoing support, including follow-up physician consultations, will be provided through an online cancer recovery program designed to inspire and assist patients with their commitment to making healthy choices going forward.
The first virtual office visit is scheduled for Terrace in early 2012 with other additional locations currently being developed.
InspireHealth improves cancer care delivery by helping patients learn how to support their own health and recovery and has operated a Vancouver centre since 1997. Integrated cancer care combines diet, activity and stress management with standard cancer treatments to promote an overall healthier lifestyle that can lead to better patient outcomes and cancer survival rates.
In June 2011, it was announced that InspireHealth centres will be opening in Victoria, Abbotsford, Kelowna and Prince George, as well as a virtual program to support rural and remote communities. The Victoria centre opened on Oct. 13, 2011.
The Ministry of Health has provided one-time, startup funding totalling $2.5 million for the five centres. There is additional annual funding of $2.5 million to fund physicians and allied health care professionals.
InspireHealth is a non-profit society that is funded through a mix of physician salaries, patient-pay-membership fees and private donations. There is no charge for access to InspireHealth's physicians and nurse practitioners. Associated practitioners, like massage therapists, acupuncturists and naturopathic doctors, have patient-pay-fees.
Greater access to integrated cancer care is part of Healthy Families BC, which supports British Columbians to manage their own health, reduce chronic disease and ensure that pregnancy and support programs target the province's most vulnerable families. Additionally, the strategy will continue to focus on healthy eating initiatives, including a public awareness campaign around sodium as well as a provincial restaurant nutrition information program to help make the healthier choice the easier choice.
This announcement also reflects the Premier's commitment to ensure that the provision of services, including access to health care, is looked at through a rural lens, as communities throughout British Columbia will benefit from this virtual program.
- Access to InspireHealth's physicians and nurse practitioners is free.
- For those who want to fully engage in InspireHealth's model of care, there is a membership program that includes core health classes (e.g. nutrition, exercise, yoga, meditation, support groups), as well as a two-day integrated cancer care workshop, the LIFE program, at $445 for the first year and $95 for annual renewals.
- The fee is waived for patients on Medical Service Plan premium assistance.
- Associated practitioners like massage therapists, acupuncturists and naturopathic doctors have patient-pay fees.
- Cancer diagnoses are expected to grow to more than 33,000 by 2024, an increase of about 30 per cent.
- The most common cancers for men in British Columbia are prostate, lung and colorectal.
- The most common cancers for women in British Columbia are breast, lung and colorectal.
- Despite the statistics, British Columbia has some of the most favourable cancer outcomes in North America.
- According to the Canadian Cancer Society's 2010 Canadian Cancer Statistics report, B.C. men and women have the lowest overall mortality rates for all cancers in Canada.
Visit InspireHealth at: www.inspirehealth.ca
Visit Healthy Families BC at: www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca
Manager of Media Relations
Ministry of Health
250 952-1889 (media line)