Assembly of First Nations and Canada Health Infoway Funding Decision Transforms First Nations Access to Health Care

    OTTAWA, Dec. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Phil Fontaine congratulates Canada Health Infoway's (Infoway) Board of
Directors for its decision to provide 100 per cent funding to First Nations
telehealth projects linked to existing projects within provinces and
    "I am pleased that Canada Health Infoway recognizes the importance of
increasing access to health care in First Nations communities," says National
Chief Fontaine, "The new funding model will help increase the availability of
care, delivered locally, through telehealth."
    Infoway has agreed to a new funding formula that offers First Nations
100 per cent funding for telehealth deployment if their projects are
integrated with an existing provincial or territorial project. Stand-alone
First Nations telehealth projects will receive 75 per cent funding.
    "We recognize the barriers to care faced by many remote and isolated
First Nations communities," says Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada
Health Infoway, the federally-funded, not-for-profit organization that is
leading the acceleration of electronic health records across Canada. "For
those who live in these communities in particular, telehealth brings medical
experts to them thanks to technology, increasing access to much-needed health
    According to the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS),
nearly one in five First Nations adults have no doctor or nurse available in
their community. Telehealth can improve access by overcoming barriers of
geography, transportation infrastructure, and socio-economic disparity.
    Currently about 100 First Nations across Canada use telehealth
technologies for clinical consultation, continuing professional education,
health promotion, health care management and administration.
    "This decision represents an important building block, but our work is
not done," continues National Chief Fontaine, "We must continue to forge ahead
to continue to enhance the quality of care available in First Nations

    Infoway works with provinces and territories to invest in electronic
health projects, which support safer, more efficient health care delivery.
Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these private and secure systems
provide health care professionals with immediate access to complete and
accurate patient information, enabling better decisions about diagnosis and
treatment. The result is a sustainable health care system offering improved
quality, accessibility, productivity and cost savings.

    The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens of Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Karyn Pugliese, Communications Officer, Health
Secretariat, Assembly of First Nations, (613) 241-6789, ext 210, (613)
292-1877,; Dan Strasbourg, Director, Media Relations, Canada
Health Infoway, (416) 595-3424,

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