Hamilton health-care providers are exploring new ways for some residents to access care from the comfort of home.
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) shared Wednesday (August 12), that they would be offering virtual appointments with emergency care physicians for patients 18 years of age or older.
These appointments are ideal for patients dealing with an urgent medical issue that is not considered life-threatening, SJHH explains on their website. People in distress must call 911 or should attend one of the city’s hospital emergency room, which are open and safe to access.
“If you have a family physician, they should be your first point of access for care,” SJHH says.
“A virtual appointment with an Emergency Department physician may be the right option for you if you are having an urgent medical issue that is not life-threatening and you are unable to obtain timely access to your family physician or you do not have a family physician.”
Virtual appointments are scheduled during the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, except on holidays. SJHH says that appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Health-care providers are increasingly turning to virtual care after the COVID-19 pandemic forced hospitals and physicians to rethink delivering care in a world where human-to-human contact presented too great a risk.
Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is also undertaking a major study to look into remotely monitoring patients after surgery. The study is being carried out in collaboration between HHS, McMaster University and the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI).
The results so far have been promising, HHS says in a press release.
Earlier this week, HHS shared a story about one of their registered nurses who specializes in digital care and who was integral in providing training and support for nursing staff involved in employing this new form of patient care.
Carley Ouellette is the HHS research project nursing officer for the virtual care trial launched in response to COVID-19.
“I think we will see a need for virtual care long after COVID-19,” said Ouellette in the story on HHS’s website.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of virtual care’s potential, and how health care can be transformed.”
For more information on SJHH’s new virtual care option, visit their website here.