FLEX spotlight: Immersion into a new support tool for rural doctors

July 18, 2019

In his final FLEX project with UBC’s MD undergraduate curriculum, NMP Class of 2019 graduate Domnick Manhas helped evaluate a new tool focused on bridging gaps for physicians in rural areas.

Following a recommendation by Dr. Sandra Allison at Northern Health, Domnick became involved with the CODI (Critical Outreach and Diagnostic Intervention) program, working with Drs. John Pawlovich and Ray Markham. CODI is a recently developed provincial initiative that uses technology to have the “right people” support rural physicians during challenging and stressful times in the ER room.

“It’s an ‘on-demand, 24/7’ critical care strategy through a secure app on a smart phone,” explains Domnick, now an Internal Medicine resident in Vancouver. “For a doctor, it is an ICU physician in their pocket that can be accessed no differently than a Facetime or Skype call, with every interaction happening at a highly encrypted level.”

Physicians who answer the questions received through the CODI app are intensivists located in urban centres in B.C. who help support rural physicians in acute and critical care situations – all through the use of a smartphone. The app enables the urban support provider to see what the rural physician is seeing, and it also provides a transcription (available in minutes) that can be inserted into the patient’s chart after the consult is completed.

“When I was searching out a project for 4th year FLEX, I really wanted to be involved in an initiative that allowed access to specialists for rural patients. When reviewing the CODI project goal of integrating technology into rural and remote areas, and giving access to specialists in urban centres through virtual medicine, I thought it would be a perfect project for my career goals.

“And I want to work on similar projects during residency.”

Learn more about CODI:

FLEX (Flexible Enhanced Learning) is a series of courses that provide dedicated time for UBC medical students to complete scholarly projects relevant to health, including community service learning, quality improvement, and research.