Islanders want more supports for virtual care
March 8, 2023
CHARLOTTETOWN – A survey of Islanders’ experiences with virtual healthcare show many respondents are comfortable with the technology but would like more support in accessing it. The anonymous, voluntary survey was conducted in the summer of 2022 by Health PEI’s Virtual Care Project Coordination Centre.
“More than a thousand Islanders participated in this survey, and their answers were pretty clear,” said Dr. Michael Gardam (pictured), CEO of Health PEI. “9 in 10 people said they were comfortable using virtual healthcare technology and that they would use it again. They did say they would like some help with the technology, and we’re already taking steps to do just that.”
Virtual care, for the purposes of this survey, was defined as a way to visit your healthcare team when not in-person. Virtual care uses your phone, tablet, or computer.
Highlights of the survey include:
- 89% of respondents were comfortable using this technology;
- 89% of those who had accessed virtual care said they would use it again;
- 71% said they were satisfied with their experiences with virtual care; and
- 37% said they would like online learning sessions to support virtual care.
Health PEI has already acted on some of the issues brought up by the survey.
A Virtual Care Technical Support Person is now available for all Islanders – patients and providers – to help navigate virtual care and provide a human point of contact for technical solutions.
Primary Care at Health PEI is working to expand services to the unaffiliated patient population.
Information sharing with leaders, including Executive Leadership, across Health PEI about what Islanders have asked for and opportunities for improvement, such as improved communication about virtual care services and continued focus on equity and accessibility.
“This was a really important exercise,” said Robin Laird, director of eHealth Clinical Operations at Health PEI. “If healthcare on PEI is going to include virtual care, we need to know how comfortable Islanders are with accessing and using it. It’s also imperative we act on the information we’ve learned from the public. This is a great step, and I look forward to continuing this conversation with Islanders.”