Almost all Canadian physicians say they will continue to use virtual care after the pandemic, and 64 per cent say they will maintain or increase its use, according to a survey conducted for Canada Health Infoway and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).
The survey of 2,000 doctors, carried out in the spring, founded that 94 per cent of physicians said they currently use virtual care, with 93 per cent offering telephone visits, 51 per cent offering video visits, 36 per cent offering email/messaging and five per cent offering remote patient/home health monitoring.
More than 70 per cent of the physicians surveyed said they believe virtual care improves patient access and enables quality care and efficient care for their patients.
"It's clear from these findings that virtual care is here to stay in Canada," said Michael Green, President and CEO, Infoway in a statement released Aug. 11. "Physicians are satisfied with it and they recognize the benefits to their patients and their practice."
The survey also found that physicians believe some patients may need additional support to access virtual care. In particular, they mentioned patients with low levels of technology literacy, disabilities, language barriers, low incomes, chronic conditions, and those who are from remote locations and Indigenous communities.
"The use of virtual care has increased greatly since the beginning of the pandemic but work is still required to ensure quality care and equitable access," said Dr. Ann Collins, CMA president. "We still have work to do such as creating national licensure, developing quality standards, addressing interoperability as well as ensuring digital health literacy, education and training. These are crucial elements to the successful integration of virtual care into our health care system and should be part of our post-pandemic roadmap."