By the Numbers

of all patient-reported visits between January 2021 and March 2022 were virtual
of patients who experienced virtual care were satisfied with their experience
of patients who experienced virtual care said they avoided an in-person visit

Improving Access to Care

Virtual care has transformed health care delivery in Canada and around the world.
When an in-person visit with a health care provider isn’t possible or even desirable, having access to virtual care can mean the difference between a patient receiving the care necessary to improve their health or dealing with the consequences of untreated ailments.

When patients and clinicians opt for virtual care, they can help prevent the spread of infections, save time and money, engage in more timely medical interventions and enjoy flexibility with regards to receiving and delivering health care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual care enabled patients to continue receiving the care they needed while keeping themselves and their families safe.

Virtual care can benefit a variety of patients, such as people with mobility issues, residents living in remote areas and busy parents and workers who want the convenience of connecting through their device (possibly avoiding child care services or time off work, as a result).

Considering the benefits, it’s no surprise that the adoption of virtual care solutions and services is growing across Canada’s entire health system.

Virtual Care & COVID-19

With the entire health system forced to adapt to the current global pandemic, Canada Health Infoway wanted to gain insights into Canadians’ health care experiences while dealing with COVID-19, including their interaction with the health system, their uptake of virtual care, the types of health providers visited, their satisfaction with virtual care and the barriers to accessing care.

In the report, Canadians’ Health Care Experiences During COVID-19, we find that there has been a dramatic shift towards virtual care, enabling patients and physicians to connect safely at a distance to reduce the spread of COVID-19.


Remote Patient Monitoring

Telehomecare, or remote patient monitoring (RPM), enables health care providers to electronically monitor patients’ outside of conventional clinical settings, such as in the home.

Through telehomecare, patients with chronic conditions — such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure or diabetes — can become active participants in the management of their health with easy-to-use digital health technology in their homes and by remotely connecting with health care professionals who help them monitor and manage their condition. Through close monitoring and coaching, patients can address issues before they become critical, enabling them to avoid hospital stays and trips to the emergency room. Remote patient monitoring improves access to care and decreases health care delivery costs.

Since enrolling in Eastern Health’s Remote Patient Monitoring program, Joy has stopped using her blood pressure medication, left behind her walking stick and, best of all, is now able to spend more time with her energetic granddaughter.

e-Mental Health

Mental health affects one in five people every year. e-Mental health solutions can help Canadians connect with the help they need 24/7, including:

  • Online self-help: Includes self-help modules and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) apps
  • Crisis support: Includes phone help lines, text support, online chat support, hot spot notifications
  • Medical intervention: Includes video-based counselling; telemedicine videoconferences; and text-based counselling, clinical follow-up and referral
  • Peer-led support: Includes online monitoring, peer support apps, social media, chat rooms, instant messaging, gaming
  • Coaching: Includes online therapy; video, text and voice chat

Connecting digitally has the power to positively affect mental health, allowing like-minded Canadians to form communities with real-time peer support that extends outside of their health care practitioners’ work hours.

e-Prescribing with PrescribeIT

The ability to send and receive prescriptions virtually is an important part of a clinician’s virtual toolkit. PrescribeIT®, Canada’s not-for-profit e-prescribing service, enables prescribers to electronically transmit prescriptions as data directly from their electronic medical record into a pharmacy’s management system, removing the need for faxed and paper prescriptions. PrescribeIT® also includes clinical communications, eliminating the need for fax and phone tag.

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