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Virtual Care During COVID-19 and Implications for Future Care Delivery

le 2021

Virtual care is defined as “any interaction between patients and/or members of their circle of care, occurring remotely, using any form of communication or information technologies, with the aim of facilitating or maximizing the quality and effectiveness of patient care”, and was provided under special circumstances before March 2020. However, with the recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, community health centres and clinics have had to resort to providing virtual care with exceptions of face-to-face appointments for those requiring physical exams and interventions. In such unprecedented times, it is pertinent to ensure that patients are able to continue managing their health and that services and resources are available to support their healthcare needs. Furthermore, it is also important to ensure that staff and administration feel confident enough to provide the best possible patient care and that resources and support are in place to help them fulfill their roles and duties.

The purpose of this study is to explore strengths and challenges from both the staff and clients’ perspectives within this new model of virtual care adopted by community health centres, specifically within the Grand Bend Area Community Health Centre (GBACHC). Patients provide an unique perspective as literature suggests that patient partnership is an integral component of quality improvement initiatives in healthcare delivery (Virtual care: Recommendations for scaling up virtual medical services, 2020). Patients are positioned extremely well to evaluate the care and services they receive, their quality and whether they met their needs. Similarly, staff are also wellequipped to identify the things that are working and that can be refined to further improve the organization and care delivery. Thus, having a better understanding of patient and staff perspectives will help identify areas for improvement and ensure that the GBACHC is able to provide the highest quality of care for patients