Vancouver Sun Published: Friday, November 21, 2008
VANCOUVER – British Columbians can now dial 8-1-1 to get 24/7 health information and medical advice and help navigate B.C.’s health-care system, the provincial government announced today.
“8-1-1 is the gateway to an expanded tele-health service called HealthLink BC,” said Health Minister George Abbott in a press release.
The HealthLink BC service includes a new health system navigation service accessible via telephone or the Internet. The navigation system assists the public and health professionals in finding and accessing appropriate health resources in, or close, to their home communities.
“For example, our enhanced services will make it much simpler for a pregnant mother to determine the closest prenatal program to her home, or for a senior living in a rural community to locate an influenza immunization clinic,” Abbott said in the release.
A trained health service representative will answer all 8-1-1 telephone calls, and where appropriate, calls will be transferred to a registered nurse, pharmacist or dietician for further information and advice. The 8-1-1 service can provide assistance with answers to questions about a variety of health topics, help in identifying symptoms and advice on when to seek medical treatment, the release said.
8-1-1 has translation services available in more than 130 languages. Online, the service is available at www.healthlinkbc.ca.
HealthLink BC services are endorsed by the B.C. Medical Association, the B.C. College of Family Physicians, the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. and the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia, the release said.
British Columbians who are hearing or speech impaired are able to access HealthLink BC telephone services from a TTY service or device by dialing 7-1-1.