eVisit Primary Care

Connecting patients with their primary care providers through secure messaging, audio, and video for simple health requests

Today, most patients with a health issue or concern have a single option: scheduling an in-person appointment with their primary care provider. While more clinics accept patient emails, patients are rarely able to directly and securely message their provider about a health concern, receive care virtually, and ask follow-up questions.

 

About the pilot

OTN, with partners, launched the eVisit Primary Care pilot in 2017 to enable patients to initiate virtual clinical encounters with their primary care providers.

Enrolled primary care providers invite their patients to register to use the service. Patients can then connect to their own provider through one of two secure, customized web and mobile-based platforms developed by Novari Health and Think Research, using secure messaging, audio and video. The model supports two-way communication between providers and patients. The typical virtual visit involves an exchange of six secure messages between patients and providers.

eVisit Primary Care is appropriate for non-emergency health questions or issues such as:

  • Cold, cough, flu
  • Allergies
  • Women’s health issues
  • Chronic disease management
  • Pain
  • Follow-up visits
  • Rash
  • Medication questions
  • Cold, cough, flu
  • Allergies
  • Women’s health issues
  • Chronic disease management
  • Pain
  • Follow-up visits
  • Rash
  • Medication questions

The project, the largest implementation of virtual primary care visits of its kind ever completed in Canada, according to independent evaluator Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV), is active in five Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs):

Central East
Central West
Mississauga Halton
Toronto Central
Waterloo Wellington

The project was funded by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and leverages two pilot billing codes. There is no cost to patients to access the service.

Impact

While the formal pilot ended in March 2019, registered patients continue to connect with their providers. At pilot end:

virtual visits completed

patients had access to the service

physicians enrolled

Key Evaluation Highlights

98%

The service appeals to a wide range of patients, regardless of gender, age, or health issue – 98% felt that the visit was the same or better than in-person care and 99.9% reported they would use virtual care again.

90%

Asynchronous messaging was used most often (over 90% of visits) and was found to be convenient for patients and providers.

81%

81% of visits required no additional follow-up, suggesting that virtual visits routinely and successfully replaced in-person care.

“I’m seeing some reduction in visits in the office, making access for other patients better. It takes some of the pressure off me, knowing I have time to put patients in when they really need to come in. With improved access, visits outside of my office (e.g. to walk-in clinics) are also going down.”
– Dr. Susan Taylor, eVisit Primary Care clinician

Patient Perspectives

The model supports continuity of care and ER/walk-in clinic diversion – 15% of patients indicated they would have used a walk-in clinic and 4% an ER if they couldn’t use the service.

93%

of patients agreed the virtual visit saved time.

92%

of patients agreed the virtual visit was more convenient than in person.

75%

of patients agreed the virtual visit saved money.

62%
The most common patient-reported reasons for a visit were new health conditions (34%) and chronic conditions (28%). A combination of other issues totalled the remaining 38%.

Patient Case Example

A patient developed a serious cellulitis infection linked to Type 2 Diabetes. Due to its severity, the patient had to follow up with the provider every two days to ensure the infection was under control. As a full-time employee, the patient was grateful to be able to use asynchronous messaging to send photos of the infection to the primary care provider. This saved the patient a lot of time in travel and prevented the need to take time off work for in-person follow-ups.

Read the full report by WIHV here, or contact us for more information about this project.

Contact Us

To learn more about these solutions or for any questions, please contact us.

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