Nova Scotians will have easy access to important health information from the comfort of their home with a new service that will allow people to talk to a registered nurse over the phone. The Department of Health signed a contract today, March 24, with McKesson Canada to operate the Telecare service in Nova Scotia. Telecare will have registered nurses available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to give health advice and health information over the phone. Callers will also receive advice on whether or not they should seek another level of care. “A fundamental piece of transforming our health-care system is giving Nova Scotians better access to care,” said Health Minister Karen Casey. “The Telecare system will make health information more accessible to Nova Scotians, giving them greater control over their own health and well-being.” Benefits of a Telecare system include: helping individuals with self-care; having a reliable source of health-related information; reducing the need for travel for basic primary health-care advice; being more prepared in planning for outbreaks and events; and, most importantly, improving access to primary health-care services. “Our team is honoured and excited to be given this opportunity” said Domenic Pilla, president of McKesson Canada. “Patient access to health-care is one of the pillars of our business and we are committed to applying our experience, expertise and technology to help build a high-quality telecare service for Nova Scotians. “McKesson Canada is also pleased to have Emergency Medical Care Inc. as a partner in this initiative. Emergency Medical Care Inc., who provides emergency services for the province of Nova Scotia, will be responsible for some administrative, telephony and technical support.” McKesson Canada will hire 15 full-time and 12 part-time telehealth nurses, as well as telehealth associates, clinical team leaders, clinical supervisors and workforce co-ordinators. A contact centre will be located in Dartmouth and positions will be distributed across the province under Telework, a work-at-home program. The Telecare service will cost about $6.5 million a year and will be available in July.