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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 support during COVID-19

Virtual health toolkit 

The Office of Virtual Health (OVH) and the Digital Strategy & Enterprise Architecture team at PHSA have developed a virtual health toolkit for clinicians to use during the COVID-19 pandemic so they can continue to provide care to patients and keep them at home. 
Access COVID-19 toolkit

Zoom for Healthcare licences

As part of the COVID-19 response, the OVH is issuing Zoom for Healthcare licences to health care professionals at PHSA, Providence Health Care, Island Health, Doctors of BC, HealthLinkBC and Community Living BC.
Zoom for Healthcare


Partner with us

How do we work with clinical teams?

The OVH collaborates with clinicians, their patients and operational leaders to understand and investigate a clinical need or area for improvement, then find a virtual health tool that supports that need. 

We provide guidance and support for integrating the virtual health tool into the clinical program, and evaluate and support sustainability of the virtual health within their services. 

We provide clinical teams with virtual health support in the following ways:

  • Identify and explore clinical needs and how virtual health can support those needs
  • Provide a recommendation for a virtual health tool that can support the clinical needs
  • Communicate with leaders in IMITS, Privacy, Risk, and Patient Engagement
  • Provide project and change management support, tools and coaching, workflow redesign to support care delivery transformation through the virtual health tool, identify and provide 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

What is the Office of Virtual Health?

The Office of Virtual Health is a service of Provincial Health Services Authority. PHSA Office of Virtual Health (OVH) was created in 2017, with an ambition of supporting clinical programs as they integrate virtual health into their services. 

What is virtual health?

Virtual health is a patient-centred care model focused on connecting patients, families and providers, using technology to optimize wellness, specialty care and outcomes. It supports people to receive care and stay well by using digital innovation to connect them to care seamlessly, when and where they need it. 

What does the Office of Virtual Health do?

The 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.

What are the main services the OVH provides?

The Office of Virtual Health 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
How can I contact the Office of Virtual Health?
The OVH team is based in Vancouver and can be reached by email at officeofvirtualhealth@phsa.ca.


Where can I read articles or watch videos about the Office of Virtual Health?

Visit the News, updates and events section of our webpage (www.phsa.ca/health-professionals/professional-resources/office-of-virtual-health) to read our latest articles and catch up on our news.

You can find our social media posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram by searching the hashtag #OfficeofVirtualHealth.
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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. 

Get updates on our projects and our team 
Read the OVH quarterly newsletter.

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 webpage 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.


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Resources

Clinician resources

Email to fax: How to use

  1. To use SRFax, please contact your clinical program/department lead to request to be added to the corporate SRFax account via your health authority (HA) email. For instructions for clinical programs/department leads on how to set up a corporate SRFax account, click here
  2. Make sure that you have either Acrobat Reader (Windows/Mac) or Preview (Mac) programs on the device that you will be filling out the electronic fillable PDF prescription form.  
  3. Download the electronic fillable PDF prescription form
  4. Fill out the relevant prescription information. 
  5. Digitally sign the prescription form. Click here for instructions on how to digitally sign using Acrobat Reader (Windows/Mac) or Preview (Mac). A digital signature will lock the form so that no one else can edit it. 
  6. Attach the PDF to your HA email and send to the fax machine.
  7. For your email to the fax machine:
Insert the following:
To: ##########@srfax.com (1+AREA CODE+PHARMACYFAX NUMBER)
Subject: Prescription for PATIENT LAST NAME, FIRST NAME
Body:  Your name, contact information and CPSID # /MSP # must be added 

*The To, Subject and Body will become the Fax Cover Sheet with a confidentiality disclaimer. The Prescription will become Page 2 

8. Once the email has been sent, and a confirmation from SRFax has been received, delete the email with the attached prescription. 

Note: It may take up to 5-10 minutes for you to receive a confirmation email from SRFax that your fax has been sent and received by the fax machine.
 
  1. To use SRFax, please contact your clinical program/department lead to request to be added to the corporate SR Fax account via your health authority (HA) email. For instructions for clinical programs/department leads on how to set up a corporate SRFax account, click here.
  2. Generate electronic PDF version of the prescription through the EMR.
  3. Attach the PDF to your HA email using either a work desktop/laptop/mobile device or a personal device (If you are using a personal laptop/desktop, you must have remote access to use Outlook web. Please contact IMITS to gain access. For instructions to set up your HA email account on your personal iOS device, click here; or for Android devices, click here.
  4. For your email:
Insert the following:
To: ##########@srfax.com (1+AREA CODE+PHARMACY FAX NUMBER)
Subject: Prescription for PATIENT LAST NAME, FIRST NAME
Body:  Your name, contact information and CPSID # /MSP # must be added 

*The To, Subject and Body will become the Fax Cover Sheet with a confidentiality disclaimer. The Prescription will become Page 2.

Once the email has been sent, and a confirmation from SRFax has been received, delete the email with the attached prescription. 

Note: It may take up to 5-10 minutes for you to receive a confirmation email from SRFax that your fax has been sent and received by the fax machine.

 
(Best for non-EMR users or duplicate prescriptions)

Note: Duplicate prescriptions need to be filled out on a special duplicate form (paper-based). Currently two types are in use: methadone prescription (Methadose and Metadol-D) and duplicate prescription for other Controlled Prescription Program (CPP) items. The copy of the duplicate can be faxed to the centre to ensure timely dispensing of the medication, however, the original duplicate must be sent to the centre (subsequently sent to the pharmacy). 

When to use it 

When the provider doesn’t have access to an EMR and needs the ability to fax a paper-based prescription to a clinical unit/pharmacy fax machine
When the provider has either a personal/work mobile device (iOS) to scan the paper document

Best use 

Remote ordering of a prescription without using EMR
Remote ordering of duplicate prescriptions
Providers needing to fax paper-based prescriptions
Technical requirements
Mobile device (iOS) to scan the paper document using your camera app

Instructions

  1. To use SRFax, please contact your clinical program/department lead to request to be added to the corporate SRFax account via your health authority (HA) email. For instructions for clinical programs/department leads on how to set up a corporate SRFax account, click here. 
  2. Write your prescription on your prescription pad.
  3. Sign the prescription (wet signature).
  4. Scan the paper prescription using your iOS mobile device. Please click for instructions. 
  5. Attach the scanned prescription document to your HA email and send to the fax machine. 
  6. For your email to the fax machine:
Insert the following:
To: ##########@srfax.com (1+AREA CODE+PHARMACYFAX NUMBER)
Subject: Prescription for PATIENT LAST NAME, FIRST NAME
Body:  Your name, contact information and CPSID # /MSP # must be added 

*The To, Subject and Body will become the Fax Cover Sheet with a confidentiality disclaimer. The Prescription will become Page 2 

    7. Once the email has been sent, and a confirmation from SRFax has been received, delete the email with the attached prescription. 
   8. Retain paper copy of prescription in a secure location until you can take it on site to place in the patient’s paper clinical health record

Note: It may take up to 5-10 minutes for you to receive a confirmation email from SRFax that your fax has been sent and received by the fax machine.

Note: To use SRFax, please contact your clinical program/department lead to request to be added to the corporate SR Fax account via your HA email.
Zoom for Healthcare: How to use

Patient resources

Zoom

To have a virtual health visit with your health care team, you'll need:
  • Access to reliable internet (Wi-Fi or cellular data)
  • A computer, laptop, smartphone (iOS or Android), or tablet with:
  • A webcam or built-in camera
  • Speakers and a microphone, or a headset (recommended)

  • 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 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 contact the patient helpdesk. Contact information can be found in your Virtual Health Visit invitation.‎

 
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).

 
Please check back as this section will be updated shortly.

 

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SOURCE: Office of Virtual Health ( )
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