Virtual care is a mode of health-care delivery that aims to facilitate quality and effective patient care.
Virtual care refers to the use of remote technologies, including telephone and videoconferencing, for any interaction between patients and health providers within their circle of care.
Virtual care allows for convenient health-care access. When we use virtual care, patients do not need to leave their homes or enter a health-care facility to access health care.
During the COVID-19 pandemic environment, virtual care solutions enabled Eastern Health to support our most vulnerable patient populations, protect our health-care workers and keep them in the workforce, reduce the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), improve hospital utilization and efficiencies – all while maintaining health-care access. Learn more.
At Eastern Health, we have several virtual care solutions for our patients and health providers. Given that virtual care uses different technology depending on the need, clinical requirements for both the patient and clinician are assessed to select an optimal technological solution. Following is a list of various technologies used during virtual care:
Cisco Jabber (Telehealth)
This solution is offered by the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information using videoconferencing technology, and connecting patients with health-care providers for a face-to-face appointment, either from a health-care site or from the patient’s own home. Learn more.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
This platform is well suited to patients who suffer from chronic conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure or type II diabetes.
This technology allows health-care professionals to monitor patient’s biometrics and symptoms remotely, while also providing education, coaching, self-management support and intervention.
Patients are provided with a tablet, peripheral monitoring devices such as BP monitor, pulse oximeter, and weigh scale. An experienced clinician uses this data for assessment and intervention. Follow-up may be via telephone or videoconferencing through the embedded Zoom application, directly into the patient’s home. Learn more.
Therapy Assistance Online (TAO)
TAO is an online mental health program that combines online education materials with brief contact by telephone, chat or videoconferencing (embedded Zoom technology) with a registered counsellor to help improve patient’s health and wellness. This program is available in French and English. Learn more.
Zoom for Health Care
Zoom for Health Care is a licensed platform that allows for a virtual video health care appointment or for interactive education classes. These can be provided by multiple clinicians to patients – either individually or in large volumes. This online solution can also be used for clinician to patient or group discussions. To learn more, review training resources at the following link: https://virtualcarenl.ca/training-resources/
Benefits of virtual care
- Improved access to health care
- Decreased travel
- Rapid access to emotional support
- Convenience for appointments
- Improved ability to follow social distancing or other public health measures
Possible risks of virtual care
Virtual care is not right for all clients or all types of care. Talk with your health care provider about whether virtual care is appropriate for you.
If you encounter problems with the technology before or during your virtual appointment, call your health care provider to make other arrangements.
Multiple clinicians and programs within Eastern Health are offering services using virtual care solutions. The first step is to contact your clinician or the program to find out if virtual care services are available to you.
For health providers
- Training resources: Cisco Jabber, eDOCSNL, Zoom – NL Centre for Health Information (NLCHI)
- 1-minute video: How to share your screen in Zoom
- Zoom frequently asked questions
- Therapy Assistance Online (TAO), mental health and addictions program
If you have any questions, please contact the virtual care team at Eastern Health via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.