2019-03-18

Virtual Care Uncloaking in Canada

We recently alerted blog readers to the public release of MyHealth Records, a personal health record service available to all Albertans. This could ease patient access to some health information (e.g., vaccination records, selected laboratory tests) while also improving individuals' ability to gather and organize health history information.

In another recent release, we learn of Telus Health's introduction of Babylon Health to the Canadian public (the UK has a few years experience with Babylon).

The initial Telus offering includes a "chatbot" that patients can interact with to learn more about their symptoms. In addition, patients in British Columbia can book one-on-one video consultations with physicians who have signed up (and bill for) virtual visits.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Health advocacy and regulatory bodies have concerns. Physicians may want to sign up and get a sense of the offering and possible professional impacts.

Connect Care is committed to support virtual health care services. However, these are envisioned as a seamless extension of health encounters supported by fully integrated health information services. Communications, documentation, planning, coordination and team interactions are all part of the same informational ecosystem. Alberta's HealthLink is tightly coupled with Connect Care and co-evolves to support a growing range virtual healthcare services.

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