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Encouraging self-reliance: HealthLinkBC
HealthLinkBC (HLBC) was developed to provide residents of British Columbia (BC) with medically approved health information and advice, available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Users can access this information using a format that is most convenient to them; by telephone, via the website or in print in the BC HealthGuide Handbook.
Services include 24 hour access to registered nurses by telephone, access to licenced pharmacists between 5.00 p.m. and 9.00 a.m. for advice and information on prescription drugs, access to dieticians for nutrition information and consultation, and a comprehensive website that provides information on more than 4,000 health topics and 2,500 health services.
The goal of HLBC is to enable BC residents to consume health care more responsibly and to choose healthier lifestyles. It seeks to decrease pressure on healthcare services by reducing unnecessary or inappropriate use of emergency departments. Amalgamating many services and information sources, HLBC is an empowering tool whereby BC residents can better navigate health care services, become more informed health care consumers and better practice self-care when appropriate. As a result, HLBC is nurturing more self-reliant health-care users and, by extension, a more resilient health-care system.
Are you aware of other initiatives that seek to empower citizens through improved information and advice? How else might governments increase self-reliance and societal resilience? Share your thoughts in the comments section.