RJ Pierce, Tech Times
Virtual care will still be preferred by both doctors and patients in Canada long after the pandemic ends.
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According to Global News, the virtual care trend is being preferred by patients because of the convenience it affords them. They’re saying that never having to leave the safety of their own homes has given them peace of mind.
To them, it is more preferable to sit on their own couches than in a clinic or hospital waiting room, which they say can be more stressful because of the presence of other people who are sick.
As for doctors, they’re likely pushing for the continuation of both in-person and virtual care, not choosing one over the other.
This is the sentiment of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Canadian Ministry of Health, and the Chief Medical Officer of health in the city of Ontario.
In an open letter sent to family doctors recently, the authorities are advising healthcare groups to set a limit on just how much healthcare assistance virtual care can provide. They’ve also said that it can’t really match the quality of an in-person checkup.
As a result, a few healthcare authorities in Canada have been setting new standards of practice for offering virtual care.
Among them is the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Manitoba (CPSM), who is implementing a new standard for next month.
Every CPSM member is now mandated to include “timely in-person care” when the patient requests for it, or if the clinical findings suggest it is needed. They further stated that it is “not acceptable” to keep everything virtual, reinforcing the need to balance the two.
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Is Virtual Care Even Effective?
Yes, it is. Specifically in the throes of the global pandemic, the benefits of practicing telehealth can never be understated.
Aside from the overall convenience and helping people save money, telehealth can also be administered to people who have mobility issues, as well as those who might live in remote areas where access to healthcare is very limited, writes Harvard University.
(Photo : Getty Images )
However, the downsides to telehealth/virtual care are also numerous. For instance, there are some check-ups that simply cannot be performed accurately without an in-person visit, like blood work and imaging.
Another issue with virtual care is the lack of recognition by insurance providers. While some of them have been covering costs during the pandemic, it’s still largely out-of-pocket for most people.
Virtual care is still in its infancy. It started off as a much-needed adaptation due to the coronavirus pandemic, and not specifically as an established healthcare medium. As such, it can still improve along the way.
One of the best recent examples of telehealth improvements is 9am.health Virtual Clinic, whose services focus on helping pre-diabetic and type 2 diabetic patients.
They’re allowing people to have access to online prescriptions, at-home lab tests, and even direct access to a care team should they need it. If virtual care is to improve by leaps and bounds in the future, this could be a good benchmark to follow.
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Written by RJ Pierce
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