A Bird’s Eye View of Virtual Care!
Hi, everyone — I am Louise Bird, a Patient Partner who lives in southeastern Saskatchewan; Carlyle, to be exact. I am located on Treaty Four land, inherent land of the Cree, Sioux, Nakota and Métis People.
As a Patient Partner I had the pleasure of being part of a Canada Health Infoway/Healthcare Excellence Virtual Care Change Advisory Program. This was an excellent pan-Canadian exchange of knowledge opportunity, exploring digital health and Virtual Care and how it compliments the care a patient experiences.
It is a concept that continues past the pandemic. The sad part is that it took such an impactful event to prove that the “medical appointment” doesn’t have to happen by attending a facility in=person.
Patient care and quality of care still happens. Through a combination of in-person and virtual care, you still can have a relationship with your care provider. Patient engagement and being part of your care team becomes a more meaningful experience.
For me, it means no more “white coat syndrome”. For myself, as someone who suffers from anxiety, that is a big thing. I can breathe, I am more relaxed, I am in my own space!
The patient doesn’t have to wait in the waiting room anymore. Instead they are waiting in the comfort of their home, in their vehicle or at work. For myself and my family, it means saving time, money and energy. Typically, a medical appointment for a prescription refill would have looked like the following: use sick time for my time away from work, travel to my appointment and then wait for my appointment. Now, a prescription refill is as easy as logging into the portal and speaking with my clinician (just like I would do in-person).
Virtual care is an essential service in Saskatchewan it allows patients from across Saskatchewan (north, east, south and west) to experience the same quality of care. Virtual care is health care that can help eliminate barriers like travel, time and expense for patients.
Not to mention safety. Imagine this: it is a Monday morning, the highways are covered in ice, and you have three medical appointments in the city. If they were virtual appointments, you would not have to travel in inclement weather.
I am so grateful that Virtual Care is becoming a reality! I think of it as “Quality of Care.”
By: Louise Bird, e-Health Patient Partner