Coming soon to a smart phone near you: virtual care

This article is co-authored by Dr. Beth Donaldson & Dr. Omair Siddiqui

Imagine not physically having to visit the doctor’s office for every medical concern. With virtual care, that’s a reality.

Virtual care – also referred to as telemedicine – is the ability to provide primary care from a distance; it’s a secure platform that allows patients to connect with healthcare providers for virtual visits through text and video conversations.

While most Copeman Healthcare practitioners already practice a version of virtual care through email, text or phone, recent technological advances now allow clients to contact a nurse practitioner instantly through their smart phone or tablet.

How will virtual care enhance service at Copeman Healthcare?

As family physicians at Copeman Healthcare, we can reassure clients that virtual care will in no way replace the service they currently receive or the relationships they have with their clinicians.

Virtual care can, however, enhance the service they receive in several ways.

For example, clients who travel or who are constantly on the go will now be able to videoconference with a nurse practitioner and avoid lost hours at work or away from family. Virtual care means taking a child out of school in order to get to a clinic before it closes will be a thing of the past. Imagine how it will alleviate the pressure on caregivers with elderly or palliative loved ones at home who are difficult to transport.

As a 24/7 service, virtual care is also a great option for after-hour care, preventing unnecessary trips to the emergency room for non-emergency issues in the evening or on weekends. It can also be used for virtual prescription renewals and home monitoring of certain conditions.

What are the limitations to virtual care?

Of course, not all medical problems are suitable for virtual care, and those issues will still require in-person visits with a clinician or emergency care. For example, virtual care should not be used for medical emergencies, such as heart attacks, bleeding or suicidal thinking.

Virtual care is more suitable for non-emergency conditions, such as issues associated with colds and flu, sinus and allergies, ear problems or a rash.

How to sign up for virtual care

To reiterate, virtual care is an added-benefit service, so clients of Copeman Healthcare may choose to sign up or not. However, we strongly encourage all clients at Copeman Healthcare to sign up for the program and take advantage of everything virtual care has to offer. Virtual care is an exciting new development in our service offering and will provide you with one more convenient option for care.

For clients of the LifePlus, Young Adult Prevention and Copeman Kids programs that are interested in downloading the app and taking advantage of virtual healthcare, keep an eye out for an email invitation that will be sent in the coming weeks. The email will include full instructions on how to sign up for the program, download the app and get started with virtual care.

We at Copeman Healthcare are excited about this addition to our services. It’s just one more way for us to keep delivering collaborative, timely and cutting-edge medicine – now and into the future!