According to the provincial government, the end to “hallway health care” could be upon us.
The Ontario government’s Digital First for Health strategy, which they recently launched, will help to end hallway health care by making health care simpler, easier and more convenient for patients, while also utilizing the capabilities of the province’s digital health innovators to improve residents’ care.
The strategy will be comprised of five components that will use the digital tools available to streamline the health care process.
Some of the benefits of the strategy include: providing more virtual care options, including virtual visits—which will allow patients to see a doctor without physically going to a hospital, providing patients with more options when it comes to booking appointments online, providing patients with more access to their digital records to allow them to stay informed about their health, and providing better data integration and access to records for front-line workers.
“Ontario is adopting new digital practices and technologies that will improve the patient experience and help end hallway health care by expanding access to digital and virtual care options,” Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, said in a news release.
“Our Digital First for Health strategy will support how we will achieve a modern and fully connected health care system. For Ontarians, this will mean being able to choose how they receive care and services, control over how to access personal health information, and not needing to retell their stories. For health care providers, this will mean having the necessary information and supports at their fingertips, enabling them to focus on care rather than technology,” she continued.
The government is investing $3 million towards the first phase of this initiative, which will increase video conferences with physicians by 55,000 within the next year. Further, it will allow health care professionals to collect, use, and share patient information more seamlessly for better patient care.
“Ontario is already a world leader in providing specialized care video visits to patients at health care facilities across the province, improving access to care in our most northern and rural communities,” Ed Brown, CEO of Ontario Telemedicine Network, said.
“Recently, we’ve focused on more innovative virtual care options that connect patients directly with health care providers easily and conveniently through their own personal computer or smartphone. The ability to connect virtually enables patients to receive care when and where they need it,” he continued.