Teledietetic services are about using two-way, real time interactive communications such as telephone or live video-conferencing between the consumer/patient and the service provider. Teledietetics is a cost-effective alternative to the face-to-face way of providing health services. It is a particularly valuable service for consumers who are living in rural and remote areas of Canada with limited access to health services. It is a helpful service for clients with transportation issues or health needs that do not require a face-to-face interaction with the health provider.
Dietitians support access by Canadians to the right services by the right professional, at the right time, to address health needs. This means having access to a dietitian when you need one. Access to a dietitian via a call centre helps. It means quick, easy, affordable access to nutrition advice from a dietitian. It means not waiting weeks or months to get an appointment.
- In the 1970’s, dietitians in British Columbia received government funding to operate the first province-wide dietitian call centre in Canada. Today this call centre is fully funded by the provincial government.
- Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland & Labrador also offer provincial dietitian call centres, free of charge to residents of those provinces. Saskatchewan is piloting a call centre for First Nations communities as well.
- The call centre version of the Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition (PEN) knowledge database developed by Dietitians of Canada is a customized tool that provides the foundation to assure evidence-based, consistent responses to caller food and nutrition questions. PEN supports dietitians to answer over 90% of the incoming calls.