Canadians welcome health care at home
(NC) — Most Canadians are ready to receive some of their health care through new technologies, such as telemedicine and videoconferencing, a new study suggests.
The majority see benefits in the form of reduced travel times, faster access to care and reduced costs, according to the consulting firm PwC.
Among the findings of the survey, 79 per cent of Canadians are now comfortable with the idea of having chronic health conditions monitored virtually. In addition, 62 per cent of those providing care for someone else – such as a child or a parent – said that virtual care would help them in their task.
Virtual care helps health care providers collaborate with each other and deliver services to patients remotely, using newly available technologies such as videoconferencing, tablets and super-fast Internet connections.
Canadians consistently rank among the world’s most avid users of these new technologies, including smartphones. And it is Canadians themselves that are helping drive the adoption of new technologies in health care, PwC says.
The consulting firm’s Citizen Compass report asked more than 2,400 Canadians what the future of health care delivery looked like to them. The results aim to identify what new delivery channels can be developed to meet Canadians’ expectations.
Telehomecare is one of the most significant of these channels coming on line across Ontario this year. The service is a free program that complements a patient’s primary care. A specially-trained nurse monitors vital signs remotely and provides health coaching that gives patients the skills and confidence to manage their chronic conditions.
The Ontario Telemedicine Network, which designed and oversees the service, says early results show that Telehomecare can reduce hospital stays and unnecessary trips to emergency rooms, while at the same time help the patients enjoy the best possible quality of life.
At the moment, Telehomecare is being used to help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. A pilot project is also launching to treat those with diabetes. More information is available at www.ontariotelehomecare.ca
Virtual services “will improve health care practices, enhance patient experience, help doctors coordinate care more efficiently and produce significant cost savings,” the PwC report concludes.