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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, HealthLink BC 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 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 latest OVH 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.
Resources

Clinician resources

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.

View the handbook.

Email to fax: SRFAX

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

Zoom for Healthcare: How to use
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 5 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
 
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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