COVID-19 continues to strain Canada’s public health system. To offer continued care while maintaining social distancing protocols, our clinic has implemented virtual services. When possible, we will use electronic communications rather than in-person meetings for patient visits. The technologies implemented derive from a range of resources, as some have been provided by the provincial government, while others are offered by private third-parties. Depending on patient circumstances, some health concerns can be addressed with virtual care alone, while in other cases, a physical visit to a hospital or other health-care facility, may be necessary. Virtual care will ensure that physical contact remains at a minimum as we prioritize patient safety during these uncertain times.
Although we do our utmost to ensure patient privacy and security during virtual care visits, unfortunately, electronic communications tools are susceptible to increased security risks. Electronic communications mean increased risk that health information may be intercepted or disclosed to third parties. To aid us in ensuring the highest level of patient security possible, please keep the following in mind:
- Electronic communications (such as audio, video, email, text) are not as secure as private exam room appointments.
- Using a private computer and/or device, secure accounts, and a secure internet connection will all increase your privacy and security. For example, using a home rather than a workplace computer, using an encrypted email account versus an unencrypted one, and accessing the Internet via a home network rather than an open guest Wi-Fi connection are all steps that ensure increased privacy.
- Virtual care is not a substitute for in-person communication, clinical examinations, or emergency care.
To submit a Virtual Consultation request, you will be required to consent to digital communication. By submitting a request for Virtual Consultations and providing your information, you agree to let us collect, use, or disclose your personal health information, while following applicable privacy laws, through video conferencing (Pexip or Medo), audio, email, or text communications, to provide you with care. In particular, the following means of electronic communication may be used: audio, video, email, or text. We are doing our utmost to ensure patient privacy and safety in the face of any increased risk. Please contact our office if you have any concerns regarding electronic communications for virtual care. If there is any issue whatsoever, we can work to find an alternative. But please keep in mind why electronic communications have been introduced, as in-person visits increase risk of COVID-19 contact and the possible spread of the virus.