At a time when technology is becoming ever more present in our lives, a new approach to health is gaining popularity: virtual healthcare. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the process of providing this kind of care has accelerated and the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) has been offering it since March 16. Let’s look at what could revolutionize medical practices.
What is virtual healthcare?
Virtual healthcare, also called telemedicine, allows consultations with health professionals to be obtained 24/7, no matter where you are on the planet. This care includes medical and psychological consultations by phone or video and complements in-person consultations.
According to a study conducted by Medisys Health Group, 70% of visits to emergency or the clinic could be replaced by this type of consultation. Indeed, prescription renewals or consultations that do not require a physical examination could be treated virtually without affecting the qualify of care.
Accessibility and flexibility
Virtual healthcare above all allows for greater flexibility while decongesting the health system. Patients can access care in the evenings or weekends without having to wait long hours in the emergency room.
And in these times of pandemic, telemedicine not only helps protect doctors and patients by preventing them from being in contact with potentially contaminated people, but it also allows Canadians to consult a health professional for less urgent, but necessary, care.
More remote regions that currently suffer from limited health care, as well as people with reduced mobility, also benefit from this change in the system.
New job prospects
The advent of telemedicine will naturally bring about changes in medical practices and the training of health professionals. Several working groups are studying the subject in order to incorporate courses in telemedicine in the current syllabus of various health programs.
Existing medical personnel will also be brought into the digital shift through training, and there is every reason to believe that future health professionals may specialize in virtual care.
Specialized agencies have already started to recruit doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychotherapists and nutritionists to meet the growing demand. And this trend is likely to increase over the coming years.