This year, through our Physician Pulse blog, we spoke to several healthcare experts about the solutions that are modernizing medicine and how the ecosystem can build on obstacles to create new opportunities.
Here are some highlights from those illuminating conversations:
1. Increasing access to care and mental health support through virtual care
While not a complete replacement for in-person visits, virtual care provides patients with a convenient and accessible way to talk to healthcare practitioners, regardless of their location.
For mental health in particular, where major depressive and anxiety disorders have increased more than 25% globally since the onset of COVID-19, virtual care has had one of the greatest impacts on access to psychiatric care.
“Virtual care opens up a whole world of mental health treatment possibilities for people, because you have access to a global pool of talent,” says Dr. Matthew Chow, Mental Health Medical Director, TELUS Health.
With 90% of patients satisfied with their virtual healthcare experience, platforms such TELUS EMR Virtual Visit and Virtual Pharmacy aid to enhance healthcare accessibility across Canada and around the world.
2. Greater patient-physician collaboration
Enhancing healthcare also means allowing patients to have more autonomy and involvement in their own healthcare journeys.
“The patient-physician relationship is much more of a partnership,” says Psychiatrist Dr. Diane McIntosh. “They’re the ones who really decide where they’re going, and I just help them get there.”
Tools like the TELUS Health Collaborative Health Record not only help streamline time-consuming paperwork, but allow patients to actively participate in their healthcare journey while empowering care providers.
By digitizing this work, professionals can do what they do best: listen to patients with compassion, help them problem solve, and build relationships based on trust.
“There is a level of human insight and intuition required to deliver care — but above all, there is an emotional aspect that isn’t quantifiable,” says Dr. Damon Ramsey, Chief Medical Informatics Officer and Vice-president, Collaborative Health, TELUS Health. “What I see happening is a world in which technology augments the delivery and quality of medicine to increase patient connection and overall care.”
3. What's next for virtual care?
Virtual care momentum shows no sign of slowing down. And according to Keith Davidson, Technology Strategy Manager and futurist with TELUS International’s Innovation Labs (or iLabs), innovation in healthcare “is crucial for improving patient outcomes and experiences.”
“By embracing new technologies and approaches, we can create a more efficient, effective, and accessible healthcare system for all. As we strive to find better solutions, it's important that we remain open to iteration and experimentation.”
Technology in the form of augmented and virtual reality continues to change the scope of healthcare in Canada and beyond. And as demand increases among healthcare providers and the Canadian public, the adoption of new digital solutions promises a truly transformative impact.