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Virtual Visits

Sometimes a patient only has a quick question or needs services that do not require an in-person visit with their health care provider. Sometimes visiting a clinic in person is a burden due to distance or mobility issues. Virtual visits, also known as e-visits, are secure, two-way digital communication between health providers and their patients that can include emails, text messaging and videoconferencing. Virtual visits enable patients to communicate with their health care team from wherever they are, and in a way convenient for both the patient and the provider.

Benefits of Virtual Visits

Virtual visits can:

  • Free up a clinician’s time, which they can spend with other patients
  • Increase patient satisfaction by providing them with another convenient way of connecting with their doctor or other care provider
  • Benefit the health care system as a whole. A Conference Board of Canada study estimates that adult patients felt that they could have avoided nearly 47 million in-person visits in 2011 if they had been given electronic access to health information and tools  
  • Provide access to patients who have limited mobility, lack transportation, or live far from their providers

Results of a recent patient survey and observational study found virtual visits (medical consultations between a patient and provider via videoconference) enable a new model of care that is responsive to patients’ needs and could offer health system value including the potential to lower primary care costs.

Study Highlights 

  • 98 per cent of patients saved travel time
  • 94 per cent of patients reported confidence in the security and privacy of their personal information when using a virtual visit
  • 91 per cent of patients felt that their health issue was addressed appropriately during the visit
  • 87 per cent avoided a work absence
  • 57 per cent of patients report that they avoided an in person visit with their doctor/regular place of care because they were able to see a doctor online

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