St. Joseph’s Hamilton expands use of virtual visits
December 18, 2019
HAMILTON, Ont. – St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is offering virtual visits for its patients who are seeking access to mental healthcare services. It’s a way of providing simpler, easier and more convenient care for many members of the public.
Patients can encounter all kinds of barriers to accessing care. Sometimes, for patients with mental illness like depression or anxiety, simply having to physically leave your home and travel to the hospital for care can be difficult.
MyDovetale is St. Joe’s secure patient portal that connects patients to their care team through video conference – or a virtual visit – using the app on a smartphone or tablet, or online using a computer. Patients can connect from anywhere, including the comfort of their homes.
Judy Vair (pictured), a patient in St. Joseph’s Mood Disorders program, has already seen the benefits of using MyDovetale. Diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anxiety while dealing with chronic pain, Judy needed to remove any possible barrier to her care.
“If my anxiety is really bad and I’m having problems just asking for a ride, I’m still going to get that care, knowing that I have the option of the virtual appointment,” says Judy, a former nurse living in Brantford.
New data from the Mood Disorders program shows the virtual visit option helps patients keep their appointments at a higher rate; 97 percent of patients participated in their virtual visits, surpassing the 88 percent of patients who were able to make their appointments in-person at the hospital.
“We’re adding options and I think having options is a great thing,” comments Judy’s psychiatrist, Dr. Zena Samaan. “The hospital’s still here and the clinic’s still here, but this is giving us another opportunity in case you can’t make it.”
MyDovetale also gives patients access to their health information, letting them manage appointments, see test results, and message their care team – all in one place. This portal is already answering a recent call from the Ontario government to bring the patient experience into the 21st century.
A survey found that 88 percent of St. Joe’s patients feel MyDovetale has allowed them to better self-manage their care. Some patients said they saved two to three hours of travel time and over $40 in travel expenses. They all agreed MyDovetale makes accessing care and services more convenient.
MyDovetale is available for patients in St. Joe’s Integrated Comprehensive Care program and nine clinics, including Mood Disorders, Kidney Transplant, and Firestone Ambulatory clinics. A soon-to-come hospital-wide roll out will make MyDovetale available to all St. Joe’s patients.
“St. Joe’s has a history of embracing the latest technology as part of developing new models of care,” says Tara Coxon, vice president and chief information officer at St. Joe’s. “In 2012 we developed Integrated Comprehensive Care (ICC), which included giving home care clinicians tablets to communicate with physicians back at the hospital. MyDovetale takes this concept even further by connecting patients with their healthcare teams and information through technology.”
Visit stjoes.ca/mydovetale to learn more about St. Joe’s secure online patient portal.