The COVID-19 pandemic has driven us towards a technical future that we’ve known is coming but has long seemed distant.
Major transformations have been rapidly accelerated, including the adoption of home offices and remote learning. These trends would have been introduced with time, but due to the pandemic, were instead imposed overnight. The health sector has been no different. Telehealth has long been adequately implemented, but it was far from being universally embraced.
A recent survey1 released by the Canadian Medical Association indicated that 47% of Canadians have used virtual care tools over the last year, and of this group, 91% have been satisfied with their experience. From here, we’re only expecting these practices to become increasingly common.
The Age of Virtual Care
Telehealth is now one of our strongest allies in providing care, while avoiding patient exposure to unnecessary risk. Virtual appointments using a safe platform with robust data privacy measures allow patients to receive guidance, prescriptions, and assessments, all without leaving their homes.
Likewise, remote care allows for extended care access by allowing patients in remote communities to access specialists that may be thousands of kilometres away.
Patients have the Power of Choice
EMERGE is a Virtual Care platform that allows patients to connect with doctors directly from their homes, and at no cost with a valid OHIP card.
In addition to offering video call appointments, EMERGE enables patients to connect with psychologists, receive COVID-19 related information from official websites, and locate nearby walk-in clinics or hospitals if an in-person assessment is required.
We must prioritize the patient’s desire for agency in healthcare delivery, and ensure they feel involved and respected.
One of the greatest differentiating factors is the ability to connect with doctors fluent in a multitude of languages. Patients who aren’t comfortable discussing their medical needs in English are able to search for clinics that offer services in other languages.
With EMERGE, it is possible to access other clinic information including working hours and contact information, accessibility features, parking availability, and more. Geofencing technology allows users to locate clinics near their homes so that adequate follow-up can be ensured if needed.