Can Virtual Medical Care Offer Pandemic Relief?

As Canadians adapt to virtual family dinners and online classrooms, another technology, virtual healthcare, is quietly making its way into the mainstream. Public health authorities have been using electronic tools, such as telephone screening, to prioritize coronavirus testing; however, the concept has other important uses, including taking pressure off public health resources, extending access to care for routine health needs and keeping remote employees healthy and productive.

Some provinces have offered telemedicine for almost 20 years, but the availability of broadband networks and portable video-capable devices extends the virtual care concept to allow healthcare practitioners of all types to offer consultation, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and counselling. Last year, Canadians had more than two-million virtual visits with clinicians,[1] and downloaded thousands of health and wellness apps.

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