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Office of Virtual Health

The Office of Virtual Health leads and provides strategic direction and innovation for the virtual health initiative at PHSA. It works directly with clinical teams to provide guidance and support as they integrate virtual health into their services.

Virtual health is a care model focused on connecting citizens, families and providers, using technology to optimize wellness, enhance care, and improve outcomes. 

Share your feedback in our Zoom survey!

 We are gathering feedback from clinicians, schedulers and patients on their virtual health visit experiences using Zoom for Virtual Health Visits (previously known as Zoom for Healthcare). Results of the survey will be used to improve the user experience. 

Learn more on the Zoom for Healthcare page


Virtual health competency framework


The new competency framework is a foundational practice resource that can support all PHSA health care providers (HCPs) to deliver safe, appropriate and effective virtual health. The framework is available on the Practice and Education webpage.

View the Competency Framework 


Partner with us
The Office of Virtual Health (OVH) leads organization-wide planning and coordination (including policy and privacy), and facilitates transformation, including process redesign, change management, project management, education and reporting. All of this work is done collaboratively with clinical, operational and corporate partners (e.g. IMITS, privacy and procurement).

The OVH works closely with clinical programs and their patients to identify and explore their clinical needs and priorities. 

In collaboration with the clinical program, their patients and operational leaders, the OVH will help determine if and what virtual health tools can address the clinical need.

The OVH then works directly with clinical teams to define and document clinical requirements for the virtual health tool, and provides guidance and support to clinical programs as they integrate virtual health into their services and transform the care they provide.
The OVH provides support and leadership in the following areas:

  • Identification and investigation of clinical needs in areas the program wants to transform or improve
  • Thought leadership in how a virtual health tool can support identified clinical needs
  • Facilitation to define and document clinical requirements of a virtual health tool
  • In collaboration with PHSA IMITS, identification and recommendation of a virtual health tool to support the clinical needs and requirements
  • Support to ensure the virtual health tool is enabled, including working with our IMITS, privacy, risk and procurement departments
  • Project and change management support, tools and coaching
  • Clinical workflow re-design 
  • Virtual health education and practice support
Virtual health helps clinicians deliver care to patients in various ways:

Virtual health visit
  • A technology-enabled remote interaction between providers, provider(s) and patient(s), and patients and families to address the patients’ health 
Remote patient monitoring
  • Use technology to monitor a patient’s health (usually from their home), and share the information electronically with health care teams
Clinical digital messaging
  • Patients and their care teams can communicate using text messaging for administrative information exchange, appointment reminders and general check-ins
Online treatment and resources 
  • 24/7 access to web-based applications for anonymous, confidential and highly person-centred treatment for challenges with mental health or substance use

people using laptops and mobile devices




Go behind-the-scenes at virtual health projects in PHSA programs

Many PHSA programs have successfully integrated virtual health into their programs. Read the stories to get their feedback and learn about patients’ experiences.


If you are looking for video conferencing

Video conferencing sessions take place at numerous external locations across B.C.

Video Conferencing Services is situated within the  Information Management/Information Technology Services (IMITS) department. Visit the Video Conferencing Services page to learn more.



Get started

What steps do you need to take to integrate virtual health into your services?

If you are considering adding virtual health to your services, please contact us at officeofvirtualhealth@phsa.ca.

We provide support to your team through all stages of integration. 

The OVH has developed tools and resources that support clinical programs through all phases, including: Engagement, discovery, planning, execution, evaluation and scale, so your team is prepared to sustain the virtual health initiative after it launches. 

This includes providing project management and coaching support to the clinical team. We will work with your team to identify education needs and facilitate training. 

Improving the patient experience

Improving the patient experience is the driver of all Office of Virtual Health initiatives, and patient input is essential to project planning, implementation and evaluation. The OVH team supports clinical programs to engage with patients through four phases of work:
 
  1. Identify patients’ needs: This requires an understanding of patients’ compelling needs and their ability and willingness to use the virtual health solution.
  2. Co-design with patients: An open feedback loop ensures patient input guides the solution design.  Where possible, the OVH team uses formalized patient committees. 
  3. Evaluate patient input: A Patient Feedback Survey is used at key project milestones to ensure patient feedback guides continuous improvement.
  4. Deliver patient outcomes: Demonstrate improved patient satisfaction and experience.
Resources

Clinician resources

OVH virtual health competency framework
NEW- July 11, 2022
Informed by evidence, clinical expertise, and with input from patient and family partners, this new competency framework is a foundational practice resource that can support all PHSA health-care providers to deliver safe, appropriate and effective virtual health. 


Virtual health handbook

This handbook provides information and references that consider professional standards, current legislation and feedback from PHSA subject matter experts and clinical programs. Its intended purpose is to help support Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) staff using virtual health in their clinical practice.

Virtual health handbook

Privacy and security in virtual health 
There are some unique risks when using technology to provide care virtually. This resource is meant to support PHSA staff and clinicians in navigating privacy and security in virtual health.


Privacy and security resource

When a person consents to receive care through virtual health, their personal information will be collected directly from them for the purpose of providing that care. For any questions about the collection of this personal information, please contact PHSA Information Access & Privacy Services at privacyandfoi@phsa.ca.

This information is being collected by PHSA under the authority of sections 26(c) and 26(e) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Policies and guidelines

The following guidelines and policies were developed to support staff to safely and effectively use virtual health in their clinical practice.

PHSA virtual health policy (PDF).

Search for additional policies on the Shared Health Organizations Portal (SHOP).

Email to fax: SRFax

We have extensive resources for clinicians, including guides, support and training. Visit our SRFax page for clinician support.

Virtual health tools for interpreting and captioning
  • Video Remote Interpreting (VRI): Provides on-demand access to 240 languages, including American Sign Language 24/7, when a patient and health-care provider meet in person. 
  • Interpreting services during virtual health visits: A provider can submit a request to Provincial Language Service to have an interpreter that connects to their one-to-one or group virtual health visit.
  • Closed captioning during Zoom for Healthcare virtual health visits: Option for automatic live transcription, or professional captioners/transcribers are available.  
Learn more about the above virtual communication tools in this infographic, and learn how to book these services for patients on the Provincial Language Service webpage.


Zoom for Healthcare: How to use
 

We have extensive resources for clinicians, including guides, support and training. Visit our Zoom for Healthcare page for clinician support.

Patient resources: Zoom
Patients can visit our Patients Resources page for a wide range of supporting information.
Like an in-person visit, there are some things you can do before the virtual visit to make sure that your Zoom appointment runs smoothly. Please take a look at this checklist for more information.


You can also invite a family member or friend to join you when appropriate.


Patients can visit our Patients Resources page for a wide range of supporting information.


  • Six key steps to get you started with your virtual health visit using Zoom
  • Step-by-step instructions for joining your virtual health visit from your computer.
  • Step-by-step instructions for joining your virtual health visit from your smartphone or tablet.

  • Test your camera, speakers, and microphone before a virtual health visit by joining this automated Zoom Meeting Test
  • Find a private space with good internet connection
  • Make sure the space has good lighting so your health care team can see your face
  • Be prepared to answer a few questions and confirm your identity at the start of each visit
  • Write down questions you want to ask your health care provider ahead of time
  • Face the camera and speak clearly
  • Have a back-up plan with your health care team in case there are technical problems (e.g. using phone call instead)
You can invite a family member or friend with you, when appropriate. Please introduce them at the start of the visit.

If someone is joining your visit in person and they are not in the camera view, please let your health care provider know.

If your virtual health visit does not meet your needs, you can stop it at any time and schedule a telephone or face-to-face appointment for another time.

Your provider must obtain your permission (consent) before conducting a virtual health visit. You will be asked to provide your consent verbally or digitally. You will also receive information about the risks of using digital communications.


The list of risks are available in ten languages: EnglishArabic; simplified Chinese; traditional ChineseFarsiFrenchKorean;   PunjabiSpanish and Vietnamese).


How is my privacy protected?

Your Virtual Health Visit follows the same policies and procedures for in-person medical care. The policies follow the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Only those health care providers involved in your care are allowed to see or hear your personal health information.

  • For technical support please call 1-844-442-4433 (toll-free), Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,  Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This help desk number is also found in your Zoom virtual health visit invitation.
  • Please call this help desk if you need any interpreting service for the Zoom virtual health visit.
  • You can email us at ovhzoomsupport@phsa.ca for more information and feedback.
 
 

 

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