EQ Care Virtual Task Force Report – March 2020
PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL INVOLVEMENT IN VIRTUAL CARE
At the provincial level, in the fall of 2019 the Ontario government announced an aggressive digital-first strategy. A guidance document for providers wishing to form new Ontario health teams includes ambitious goals for giving patients access to virtual care and their health information.
Recently, the Ontario Medical Association and the provincial government reached an agreement to fund video patient visits in the fee-for-service (FFS) fee schedule at a rate equivalent to in-person visits, using the OTN platform. The plan is to eventually expand access to and availability of non-video visits (i.e., secure electronic messaging, audio calls) and use of non-OTN technology, as part of the government’s telemedicine program.
Initiatives to implement province-wide access for patients to their own medical records are well underway in Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Medical associations such as the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association have also produced discussion and policy papers dealing with virtual care.