‘This investment will support the use of technology to increase access to care, bring it closer to home, and improve its delivery and coordination’
Acting under a bilateral agreement, the federal government is investing $3.12 million in targeted funding in 2020–21 to help Yukon increase its capacity to provide virtual health care to residents across the province.
“Now more than ever, Canadians need access to virtual care services to support their health. We are working with provinces and territories to rapidly deploy such services for Canadians, to ensure they can access the care they need, whenever they need them,” said Patty Hajdu, Canada’s minister of health. “Today’s investment will support Yukon in their expansion of virtual health care services, ensuring Yukoners have health services throughout the pandemic.”
Physicians in Canada generally opted to offer virtual care services options instead of in-person care amid the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
“Yukon is the first provincial or territorial jurisdiction to enter into an agreement with the Government of Canada under this funding agreement. We are happy to be implementing this Putting People First recommendation,” said Pauline Frost, Yukon’s minister of health and social services. “This investment will support the use of technology to increase access to care, bring it closer to home, and improve its delivery and coordination across Yukon. This is a very positive step forward in our effort to provide more accessible health care to all Yukoners.”
The funding will help Yukon develop 1Health, a territorial electronic health record, which will integrate a suite of virtual health tools. The tools include secure video-conferencing technology, secure messaging and file transfer, a curated patient portal and remote patient monitoring technologies and infrastructure.
Yukon said it will also engage with physicians on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to collectively create an action plan outlining how the federal funding will be used to improve access to virtual care.
Virtual health or telehealth options offer a lot of benefits for physicians and patients alike, according to Ortholive, an orthopedic virtual care platform. These include:
- It advances new business models.
- It improves patient engagement with remote monitoring.
- It improves clinical workflows and increases practice efficiency.
- It increases practice revenue.
- It reduces practice overhead.
- It improves healthcare quality.
- It reduces patient no-shows.
- It improves patient satisfaction.
A separate study found that 88 per cent of Canadians agree that there's a need to improve the capacity of the health care system, be it through more beds, personal protective equipment, medical staff, or hospitals and clinics.