Virtual care news and views

Blog February 24, 2020

Tapping the real power – and promise – of virtual care

Ontario’s new health care strategy relies on our newly formed Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) to revolutionize care delivery for their communities with the goals of making it more patient-centred and efficient. It’s a major system overhaul, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to OHT leaders and their teams for their resolve—and ingenuity—in taking on this tremendous challenge in mostly uncharted waters.

To realize the full potential of system transformation, everyone, including OHTs, will need to embrace real innovation—both in the way we organize care and the channels through which it is delivered. And like every other industry these days, innovation in health care must ultimately involve leveraging some type of technology that fits workflows. When delivering care directly to patients in the community, a key part of any successful plan will include virtual care technology, such as secure messaging, video visits, remote monitoring and other care platforms.

But where to start? How can virtual care be used to help achieve strategic goals? What opportunities for better care might be available that your team is unaware of? How can these be best implemented? And what can we learn from others—and each other—so everyone doesn’t end up reinventing the wheel?

As part of our role within Ontario’s evolving system, OTN is helping to address these questions. Our first step is the launch of a new online virtual care resource for OHTs.

Here, you can:

  • Explore what integrated virtual care can look like for priority patient populations
  • Discover virtual models of care, Ontario-based and beyond, used successfully by others
  • See how to get data on your virtual care utilization and potential
  • Find practical tools to help you plan for implementation
  • See the latest updates on the state of virtual care in Ontario

It’s important to note that the information on our website is not focused exclusively on solutions or programs that OTN provides. While these are indeed available, our goal is to help you use what you already have—or choose technologies and models of care that best align with your patient-population needs, strategic goals and business plan.

Please have a look and tell us what you think of this first release. We plan on continually adding and updating OHT resources—so please tell us if there is information or resources that you and your team might find helpful going forward.

We are also providing planning and implementation support to OHTs, so please reach out to us if you need some hands-on help or have any questions. We can also provide you with data on the virtual care usage currently taking place within your region.

It’s early days, but we’re very excited by what OHTs and their many partners within Ontario’s health care system are trying to accomplish.

On behalf of everyone here at OTN, I hope we can be of help along the way.

About the author: Dr. Brown is a founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), one of the largest and most active integrated telemedicine networks in the world.