December 17, 2004

Health Links-Info Santé Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

Manitoba's innovative, leading-edge health information contact centre, Health Links - Info Santé, is celebrating its 10th anniversary of growth, expansion and the success of providing health care information for ALL Manitobans in a timely manner.

Health Links - Info Santé took its first call in July of 1994. From the beginning as a made-in-Misericordia health solution, Health Links - Info Santé started from an idea by Barbara Featherstone, a nurse with a vision to provide access to meaningful health information by telephone.

During the last decade, Health Links - Info Santé has expanded from a one nurse operation to a 6-seat contact centre to today's 35-seat, award-winning state-of-the-art live call contact centre now receiving over 200,000 calls a year.

"I want to congratulate Misericordia Health Centre and the WRHA for this important and innovative program," said Manitoba Health Minister Tim Sale. "I myself have used Health Links – Info Santé and found it to be a great tool for my own healthcare. We should be proud of the work we've done for this program that brings peace of mind to thousands of Manitobans."

WRHA Vice President Réal Cloutier said one of the reasons behind the success of Health Links-Info Santé is the collaborative efforts of all the partners behind the service. "But our greatest asset is definitely our nurses and other front line staff. They are the ones who are committed to ensuring Manitobans have the up-to-date and accurate information they need when they need it."

The successful service passed another milestone this year – averaging 500 calls a week and will pass the 200,000 calls annually by year’s end.

"Health Links started as an idea, based on the principle of linking those in need with professional health advisors or nurses," said Rosie Jacuzzi, President & CEO of Misericordia Health Centre. "The idea worked, and today we come together to celebrate what happens when creative thinking and true innovation has the opportunity to meet peoples real health care challenges."

Besides offering symptom assessment, health education and referral, Health Links – Info Santé has also provides information on timely public health issues like influenza, SARS, West Nile Virus and Hepatitis C.

Health Links - Info Santé is a provincial program of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority operated by Misericordia Health Centre. Other partners include Manitoba Health and the Regional Health Authorities of Manitoba. The service provides quality primary health care to Manitobans 24 hours a day, seven days a week in more than 110 languages.

Manitobans can access Health Links-Info Santé anywhere, anytime by calling 788-8200 in Winnipeg or toll-free 1-888-315-9257 in the rest of the province.

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