New Toolkit Will Help Health Care Providers Deliver Virtual Care to Canadians

New Toolkit Will Help Health Care Providers Deliver Virtual Care to Canadians

June 8, 2022: Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) and Healthcare Excellence Canada (HEC) are pleased to announce that a Clinician Change Virtual Care Toolkit (the Toolkit) is now available to support health care providers in their implementation and use of virtual care. 

The Toolkit was developed in collaboration with clinicians, virtual care experts and patient partners to give care providers the tools they need to provide safe, high quality virtual care to their patients. It is intended for clinicians and support staff who are new or experienced users of virtual care. 

The Toolkit focuses on three priority areas identified by clinicians: 

  • Appropriateness: Considerations for determining whether virtual care can be used, and which modality (phone, video, secure messaging or remote patient monitoring) is most appropriate for the particular circumstance 
  • Use and optimization of virtual care services: Information to help address issues and challenges associated with enabling and delivering virtual care services, including technology, privacy and security considerations 
  • Quality and safe virtual care interactions: Resources to enhance the quality and safety of virtual care delivery, including virtual relationship building and conducting physical examinations 

“The rapid shift to virtual care during the pandemic meant clinicians had to quickly adapt to provide care for their patients by phone, video, secure messaging or remote patient monitoring,” said Michael Green, President and CEO, Infoway. “Many expressed a desire for tools and training so they could provide the best care possible in a virtual setting. We hope this Toolkit will address that need and we are grateful to HEC and the many clinicians who helped develop it.” 

In addition, feedback from the Virtual Care Together Design Collaborative, an initiative that brought together 25 teams in 10 provinces and territories, helped refine information in the Toolkit. The teams included representatives from primary care practices and organizations, community-based health centres and non-profit organizations, as well as patient partners. The teams collectively serve more than 400,000 Canadians.  

“Everyone wants and deserves excellence in healthcare, whether in-person or virtual,” said Jennifer Zelmer, President and CEO, HEC. “That’s what motivated primary care teams and patient partners to come together with Infoway and HEC in the Virtual Care Together Design Collaborative and now to share the resulting practical tools and resources so that more people can benefit from safer and high-quality care closer to home.” 

According to Infoway’s most recent virtual care tracking research, an estimated 33 per cent of all patient-reported visits between January 2021 and March 2022 were virtual. As well, the 2021 National Survey of Canadian Physicians conducted by Infoway and the Canadian Medical Association found that 94 per cent of primary care physicians were using virtual care, and more than 70 per cent believe it improves patient access and patient care. 

Quotes from Design Collaborative Participants 

“The tools, presentations, and support provided through this Collaborative have been foundational in developing service models that improve the experience and efficacy of virtual health care in our region.” — Western Health, Newfoundland and Labrador 

“Participation in the Collaborative and access to the Toolkit will advance our goal of providing our community with access to innovative digital health care tools to ensure patients receive high quality care when and where they need it.” — South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team 

“The Toolkit offers guidance and practical support to assist implementation of quality virtual care initiatives. It is an excellent resource for health care providers in their virtual care environment.” — Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, Health Prince Edward Island 

“The Toolkit helps to maximize the benefits of virtual care while minimizing the challenges. It will enhance delivery of care and improve access to care, benefitting patients and providers.” — Petawawa Centennial Family Health Centre, Ontario 

“Several of the resources in the Toolkit have been useful for improving the efficiency and organization of the virtual care that our Diabetes Centre offers. We have developed a greater awareness of the factors impacting access and acceptance to virtual care, and we are working to address them.” — Primary Health Care and Chronic Disease Management, Nova Scotia Health Authority