How we define a virtual healthcare visit in Ontario
Patients are increasingly drawn to healthcare that comes to them, as this is a convenient and accessible alternative.
The pandemic has highlighted that virtual care can provide reassurance and efficiency while allowing families to remain in the safe comfort of their homes, while still accessing expert care.
Virtual healthcare refers to virtual visits between a healthcare provider, such as a physician, and a patient through communications technology.
Video and audio technology through phones, computers pr tablets, allow clinicians to see or discuss a health concern with a patient without being in the same room. These virtual meetings occur in realtime from different locations.
Some virtual visits take place by phone, where a clinician and a patient discuss health problems with only audio functionality. With video virtual visits (or video-conferencing), the patient and the clinician have an appointment with the use of video and audio technology.
We have seen a significant increase in the use of virtual visit technology in recent years.
It can be used for initial patient consultations, routine medical visits and to review investigation reports, diagnoses, and treatment options.
Virtual visits allow clinicians to check in with patients in an easy and efficient way, without the patient needing to leave their home or workplace.
Virtual care allows a health care provider to diagnose and treat common ailments remotely.
Virtual care can also be used to monitor situations or health problems like high blood pressure or medication changes.
Brief check-ins with the clinician can ensure illnesses can be caught quickly and treatment is effective, with less delay in care.
Virtual healthcare in remote areas
Virtual healthcare enables the delivery of expert patient care while avoiding the expense, burden, and time spent travelling and waiting in clinician’s offices.
It also enables the provision of care in remote or under-serviced communities when access to practitioners can be challenging.
Satisfaction amongst patients is high, and demand increasing.
The provision of virtual care has been well received by clinicians and patients alike. Many patients and physicians say it improves the therapeutic and the quality of care.
Many people wait several days to access their physician, while many physicians are unable to accommodate urgent appointments.
Did you know – over 5 million Canadians do not have a family physician!
Patients often use the emergency department for non-emergency level care, such as for prescription refills and chronic concerns.
Parents take off several days of work a year to take their children to their physicians, and kids are missing school as well.
Virtual medicine allows many emergency visits to be replaced with virtual consultations, without decreasing the quality of care.
It is fast and efficient and accessible.
How does virtual care benefit patients?
2. Avoids wait times in emergency rooms and walk-in clinics
3. Accessible on weekends and evenings
4. Less time missing work and school
5. More regular visits with the health professional
6. Less stress and burden
Download our Guide To Virtual Visits – this will help you be best prepared for your remote visit and get the most out of your appointment.
How does virtual care benefit clinicians?
1. Decreases strain on the health care system
2. Flexibility to work from home
3. Improves efficiency
4. Removes barrier to traditional care
5. Empowers patients to be more engaged with their health.
What conditions are virtual care good for?
Virtual care can help manage common health issues such as illness, minor trauma, and injuries, mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression, chronic health conditions, behavioral concerns in children, and even more complex health conditions.
Virtual medicine can decrease the need for an in-person visit for rash review and medication refills.
Can and virtual physician prescribe medication?
Yes. A physician practicing virtual medicine can order medications, as well as order investigations such as blood work and imaging.
Can a virtual physician refer to a specialist?
Yes. A physician practicing virtual medicine can refer to a specialist as required.
What is the difference between virtual healthcare and telemedicine/telehealth?
Virtual healthcare is the provision of real-time medical care via a mobile device. Telemedicine/telehealth refers to the process of diagnosing and treating conditions remotely, while virtual healthcare encompasses not only the connection between patient and physician but also the on-demand access to a broad range of non-clinical or non-physician services. For example, Kidcrew virtual care enables patients to access mental health care and therapy, in addition to physician services.
Does virtual health care save the patient money and time?
Yes. Accessing virtual healthcare minimizes the burden of missing work and school for healthcare visits. Barriers such as commute time, parking costs, and time away from work and school improve the patient experience and perceived value.
How can virtual care alleviate mental health concerns?
There is a growing burden of mental health concerns amongst patients. Mental health and therapy services can be difficult to access, especially in remote or underserviced areas. In addition, many patients feel insecure about accessing mental health services due to the stigma associated with mental health challenges. Virtual mental health care can alleviate these concerns.
What are the pros of virtual health care?
1. Virtual health care can lower healthcare costs
2. Increases efficiency
3. Provides patients better access to healthcare services
4. Healthier, happier patients
5. More convenient and accessible patient care
6. Access from remote areas
7. Can provide care to patients with decreased mobility
8. Helps reduce unnecessary emergency room visits
9. Quicker and more convenient access to a clinician
10. Increased engagement from patients which can encourage healthier behavior by patients.
11. Decreased barrier to care. Patients feel more empowered to seek advice from their healthcare practitioner as it is easier to reach them.
12. Improved prevention. Virtual care can lead to the assessment of early warning signs for illness and can enable follow up appointments to ensure improvement in health status.
13. Better quality of care. Patients can address health concerns quickly with real-time urgent consultations. This patient-centered care increases patient satisfaction.
Please do not ignore any of your child’s health concerns.
In the face of the current pandemic and the challenges with this new reality – we are hearing parents tell us they don’t want to bother their physicians and health professionals with less important health issues.
Your kids’ health will always be our highest priority, so please don’t delay, and do contact your physician if you have any concerns or health issues to address, however small.
At Kidcrew, we have a team of pediatricians ready to help – and when needed, in most cases, visits can be arranged the same day.
Read more information about Virtual Care Visits with Kidcrew.
Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.