Virtual care a key to ending hallway medicine

Virtual care connects patients directly with their health care providers through technology, whether it be via a laptop, desktop computer, tablet, or their phone. The ability to connect virtually enables patients to receive care when and where they need it – which is a key part of the solution to ending hallway medicine.

“Ontario’s health care system is struggling with access and capacity related challenges. We have clients who are being taken care of in hallways. That is troubling,” says Dr. Ian Dawe, Program Chief of Mental Health at Trillium Health Partners. “Virtual care delivery systems offer a potential solution to hallway medicine,” says Dr. Dawe, noting that people can be seen more quickly and more effectively so that their condition doesn’t deteriorate to the point where they need hospitalization.

For patients already in hospital, virtual care assists in discharge decisions and aftercare coordination, explains Dr. Dawe. Aftercare can be provided more quickly, robustly, and in a more integrated manner, giving patients the confidence that when they leave the hospital their care will continue.

Additionally, virtual care can shorten patient wait times, providing more timely access to care when it is most needed. With less patients using the emergency department when care can be provided at home, hospital beds are freed, and the delivery of care in hospital hallways can be better avoided.