Technology & Innovation Connect Patients with Primary Care Provider at Tobique Valley Community Health Centre August 16, 2023 A technological transformation is underway at Horizon’s Tobique Valley Community Health Centre (TVCHC), reshaping the way people receive primary care. Dr. Moheb Zaki, in collaboration with dedicated nursing staff and under the guidance of Dr. Ash McLellan, Medical Director for Fredericton and Upper River Valley, is pioneering a revolutionary approach to primary care delivery. By harnessing cutting-edge technology through the NB Virtual Care Portal, Dr. Zaki is ushering in a new era of health care accessibility at TVCHC. Dr. Zaki’s presence at Horizon’s Hotel-Dieu of St. Joseph in Perth Andover, where he spent seven years working in the Emergency Department (ED), paved the way for his current innovative endeavour. His journey with TVCHC began when he stepped in to temporarily cover for a physician on leave. This commitment persisted until December 2022, when personal circumstances led Dr. Zaki to relocate. The void in local health care was evident, as patients lacked access to non-emergency care. This weighed heavily on Dr. Zaki, who initiated dialogue with Dr. McLellan, New Brunswick Medical Society, and Medicare to propose a transformative idea: a dynamic blend of three weeks of virtual care followed by one week of in-person consultations. This weighed heavily on Dr. Zaki, who initiated dialogue with Dr. McLellan, New Brunswick Medical Society, and Medicare to propose a transformative idea: a dynamic blend of three weeks of virtual care followed by one week of in-person consultations. This received unanimous approval, laying the foundation for an innovative project. The patient triage process at TVCHC is similar to how it previously was: appointments are scheduled, and patients visit the clinic, where they are greeted by Horizon’s skilled nursing staff. The nurses capture vital signs and medical history before wheeling in a tablet set up on a rolling cart, connected with video and audio to the New Brunswick Virtual Care Portal, bridging the gap between patients and Dr. Zaki. Renewal of prescriptions, requisitioning tests, and scheduling follow-up appointments all take place virtually. If there is a need for an examination or procedure, the patient is booked to see Dr. Zaki the week he’s available in person. At the heart of this endeavour is the experienced nursing team at TVCHC, leveraging backgrounds in ED settings. “I believe having experienced nursing staff is a key factor in this system,” said Dr. Zaki. “Luckily, the majority of the nursing staff at TVCHC have long years of ED experience.” Dr. Zaki’s longstanding relationships within the community and the trust he has garnered over the years also play a pivotal role in the adoption of this shift in health care delivery. “My service to the local community over the years helped to establish the trust to allow them to try something new,” said Dr. Zaki. “Using the technology without expecting the patient to figure out how the communication will take place is an advantage, especially for elderly people who may have limited knowledge of technology.” Through this innovative project, Dr. Zaki’s initiative defies geographic constraints, leading primary care into an era where technology and compassionate care converge to improve access to health care across New Brunswick.