COVID-19 is impacting Canada’s healthcare system. In order to protect patients and health care providers from the virus, more health care options are being offered to help limit the number of people who need to be seen in-person. Closing the Gap Healthcare (CTG) now offers telephone and virtual appointments to care for patients receiving nursing, therapy, social work and dietician services. CTG has video and audio technologies which avoids the need for you to see your provider in-person.
What is a virtual visit?
During a virtual visit, your healthcare provider does not see you in person. You speak with your provider using a regular telephone, smartphone, tablet or your computer.
What happens during a virtual visit?
Your provider talks to you about your current health status, any symptoms you are experiencing and your needs. If your provider feels that an in-person visit is needed they will discuss options and next steps with you.
How will my virtual visit be booked?
Your provider may call you to discuss changing your upcoming appointment to a virtual visit. The decision on which type of virtual visit you have will be made based on your care needs and the technology you have access to.
Before setting up a virtual visit your provider will:
- Talk to you about options for virtual care. This may include offering a regular telephone call or a video call using a system called Microsoft Teams.
- Ask for your verbal consent for the upcoming appointment.
- Provide you with the date and time of your virtual visit and confirm your preferred contact information.
- Provide you with instructions on how to prepare for your virtual visit.
- Your healthcare provider will call you on the phone at the scheduled time.
- You and your healthcare provider will talk about how you’re feeling, discuss your questions and next steps in your care plan.
Video (audiovisual) visit using Microsoft Teams
CTG uses a secure video conferencing tool called Microsoft Teams for video calls. It provides security measures to protect personal health information.
- Your healthcare provider will connect with you via Microsoft Teams at your appointment time.
- You and your healthcare provider will be able to see each other while you talk about how you’re feeling, discuss your questions and next steps in your care plan.
- It is important to understand that virtual care is not a substitute for in-person communication, an in person examination or for urgent/emergency care.
- You will be provided instructions by your care team on how to get set-up to use Microsoft Teams prior to your virtual appointment.
- At the scheduled time and date of your virtual appointment, your healthcare provider will join the meeting on your smartphone or computer using the Microsoft Teams video system.
- If you have trouble with the video system, your healthcare provider will call you on the telephone instead.
For additional information and help on setting up Microsoft Teams for your virtual visit, please click here.
By providing your information, you agree to let us collect, use, or disclose your personal health information through video or audio communications (while following privacy laws) in order to provide you with care.
The following electronic communication may be used: email, telephone, and/or videoconferencing (including Microsoft Teams).
Protecting your own privacy
Electronic communication, including virtual visits and email, may have some risk. Third parties may take over electronic communication and introduce malware, phishing scams, or other unauthorized access.
CTG is not responsible for the security of patients’ internet service providers, email domains, personal devices or personal computers.
We suggest that you use your personal email when communicating about your health and not a work email address, as your employer may have the right to inspect your work email.
Use a secure internet connection. Do not use a public internet connection such as at the airport internet café, public library or other open area. Other people may be able to use the link to listen in on your appointment without you knowing.
CTG protecting your privacy
Your privacy is very important to us. We do our best to make sure that any information you give to us during virtual care visits is private and secure, but no video or audio tools are ever completely secure. There is an increased security risk that your health information may be intercepted or disclosed to third parties when using video or audio communication tools. We protect your privacy during virtual visits in the same way as we do during an in person or clinic visit.
- Only the people providing care to you will be present during your appointment.
- The discussion during the visit is your health record, just like an in-person appointment.
We suggest that you take similar steps to protect your own privacy. This means being aware of your surroundings and who may be able to overhear your virtual visit