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New “Virtual Visits” program launches at Stevenson

May 29, 2020   ·   0 Comments

In the era of COVID-19 many institutions and organizations are adapting how they operate to be in compliance with rapidly changing government regulations.

Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH) recently created additional ways for patients and doctors to connect through its “Virtual Visits” program that was launched last week.

Patients in need of medical assessments and support from SMH can now book a video-call with their doctor and get a checkup online, from the comfort of their own home.

“Through the COVID pressures we’ve been forced to find different ways to serve patients and this is a way we can leverage technology that we have available to us…to serve patients who can’t get to the hospital,” said William Bye, Stevenson’s Chief Financial and Information Officer.

This new program is especially beneficial for people with compromised immune systems or the elderly who need to book a doctor appointment but have fears of catching COVID-19 when visiting the hospital, although, SMH staff are doing everything possible to ensure COVID-19 can’t spread inside the facility.

In addition to keeping susceptible people safe from the virus or other contagious pathogens, the virtual visits program will help to reduce costs at SMH, according to Bye.

“Healthcare is always financially pressured and the upcoming years are going to be even more so; this is a way that we can create some efficiency and use taxpayer dollars to the best of our ability,” he said.

As the virtual visits program moves along, there’s no limit to how the hospital can implement it to more effectively to connect patients to health professionals.

“There’s unlimited possibilities with this, really,” noted Bye. “We’ve had ER doctors that want to get setup on it, so they can do an assessment online rather than have someone come into the ER. There’s so many options we can do; it’s endless, really.”

The important part is determining what patient population the services are appropriate for, said Jodi Walker, Stevenson’s Patient Experience Manager.

“There’s certain services that will still require in-person appointments because it’s really dependent on the patient and the ailment or the concern,” she explained.

Walker stressed that this new program isn’t to replace in-person visits but instead streamline processes and keep people safe.

The virtual visits program is a branch of the hospital’s Patient Connect online portal where people can view upcoming appointments and procedures, laboratory results, diagnostics, and notes from the health care provider.

This portal is hosted by Meditech Expanse, which is a secure virtual visit platform, and Stevenson is one of the first hospitals in Canada to launch it.

Meditech’s platform is hosted with Stevenson’s new Health and Information System, in partnership with Southlake Regional Health Centre and Markham Stouffville Hospital. Bye said because Stevenson is a smaller hospital, it would have never been able to leverage this virtual visit technology alone.

Anyone interested in utilizing the new technology can enroll under the Patient Connect link at the top of where instructions are listed on how to sign up. They can also call the Health Information Department at 705-435-3377 ext. 1216 and they will provide an enrolment form and support throughout the enrolment process.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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