When a child receives a cochlear implant—an electronic device implanted in the inner ear that allows them to hear—they need to have it reprogrammed regularly to ensure it’s working optimally. This requires several visits each year to BC Children’s, the only place in the province able to perform the procedure. For kids and families who don’t live close by, this can be time-consuming, expensive and stressful. There’s now a better option for those who live in Prince George, an 8.5-hour drive away.
Together with Child Health BC, BC Children’s recently opened a virtual care hearing clinic there—the first of its kind in Canada. Patients simply visit the clinic, where they can connect with an audiologist at BC Children’s via video call to have their implants virtually reprogrammed.
This may just be the start of bringing this type of virtual care to families in BC. The goal is to set up two or three similar clinics across the province over the next two years.