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News, updates & events

News from 2024

2024

Announcing our new name: Provincial Virtual Health

For several years, our team was known as PHSA's Office of Virtual Health. In July 2022, the Provincial Digital Health and Information Services portfolio was formed to more more effectively enable the BC health system digitally and virtually. As a member of the PDHIS portfolio, the new name "Provincial Virtual Health"  reflects the growing scope of our work in the delivery and management of virtual health across PHSA and the B.C. health sector.



2023 news

2023

New PHSA course to build digital health literacy

January 23, 2023 -

The online Intro to Digital Health Literacy course is interactive and self-paced. It aims to support staff, health-care providers and physicians with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate a rapidly evolving digital health landscape.

  • For employees who would like a completion certificate, access the course on the LearningHub
  • For patients or staff members/clinicians who do not require a course completion certificate:  quickly access the course 
  • You can also refer to the course handouts for key points, as well as references used.

Milestone Anniversary for Toxic Drug and Health Alerts

June 26, 2023 - 

PHSA, along with Interior Health, Fraser Health, Island Health, Northern Health and Vancouver Coastal Health, are marking the first anniversary of the Toxic Drug and Health Alerts service this May. 

The text-based service, developed by the BC Center for Disease Control and the Office of Virtual Health at PHSA, is intended to prevent drug poisonings, deaths, and provide public health information to people who use drugs, as well as community members. Read more.

10 key insights on virtual health visits from patients, health-care providers and staff 

August 25, 2023 - 

A recent survey of users gave us valuable insight on what is working, and what we can improve.

B.C. Digital Health Forum

November 24, 2023 -

The Forum was an opportunity for partners across the B.C. health sector to share learnings and key initiatives on digital and virtual health. All recorded presentations are available on the B.C. Digital Health Forum webpage.

OVH Year in Review infographic

December 14, 2023 - 

In 2022-2023, the team worked on a number of initiatives with partner programs and health authorities. We’re thrilled to share a few highlights along with the impact they had on patients, families, health-care providers and physicians in our OVH Year in Review infographic.

2022 and earlier

2022

OVH Year in Review infographic

July 14, 2022 - 

In 2021-2022, the team worked on a number of initiatives with partner programs and health authorities. We’re thrilled to share a few highlights along with the impact they had on patients, families, health-care providers and physicians in our OVH Year in Review infographic.

10 key insights on virtual health visits from patients, health-care providers and staff 

July 12, 2022 - 

A recent survey of Zoom for Healthcare users gave us valuable insight.

New text alert service aims to prevent drug poisonings and death

May 26, 2022 - 

Development of the new text alert service is driven by an increase in deaths due to the toxic illicit drug supply in B.C. Learn how the Office of Virtual Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control collaborated on the text alerts service.

Virtual health tools make it easier for patients to access interpreters and captioners

April 13, 2022

“Satisfaction and health outcomes increase because patients have the accurate information they need and feel empowered.” For many patients, virtual health tools are helping improve communication during health-care encounters.

Learn how virtual tools are increasing access to health care

2021

Digital Health Week 2021

November 29 to December 3

The Office of Virtual Health would like to thank our valued partners who joined us in presentations as we shared successful initiatives and highlighted innovative collaborations throughout the week.

The many presentations are available to view as recordings on the PHSA YouTube channel.

View the Digital Health Week Digital Health Week recording playlist.

Remote Patient Monitoring empowers patients in their treatment

November 26, 2021

“I was helping my doctor and helping myself.” In honour of Digital Health Week (November 29 – December 3), a BC Cancer patient shares how Remote Patient Monitoring made him feel like he was able to actively engage in his health care.

Read Matt's story.

Watch the 30-minute interview with Matt.

Virtual health visits: building connection between clinicians and patients

September 22, 2021

“My patients were very happy just to be literally seen instead of being limited to a phone call,” says Tessa Diaczun, pediatric nurse practitioner at BC Children’s Hospital.

Read Tessa's story.

One million virtual health visits highlights transformation of care delivery in British Columbia

July 12, 2021

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the number of virtual visits by video shot up from 1,500 to 20,000 per week.

Two families share how having appointments virtually has been a game changer for their children’s health care experience.

Meet the families and read their stories.

The Office of Virtual Health is recognized with a PHSA+ Award

July 9, 2021

In March 2020, most aspects of life changed. The Office of Virtual Health rose to the challenge. Virtual health became necessary for safely delivering health care to British Columbians and the team was recognized for their work with a PHSA+ Award.

Learn more about the OVH's COVID-19 response.

New data-driven dashboard highlights how patients benefit from virtual health visits

May 20, 2021 - 

The dashboard tells many stories, but at its core shows the benefits that virtual health visits can bring to patients when used appropriately.

Read more about the dashboard.

Taking B.C.'s temperature on virtual health visits

April 23, 2021

A recent survey of patients who use Zoom to connect with their health care providers received over 1250 responses. Overall, survey participants rate their virtual health visit over Zoom at 95 out of 100!

Read more about the survey.

2020

Collaboration of PHSA leaders with B.C. health sector leaders contributes to transformation of care delivery: Part 2
December 21, 2020

Many of the virtual health tools that you may have accessed during the pandemic were designed to keep B.C. citizens informed and safe.

Read part one; read part two.

PHSA teams collaborate to launch app that connects paramedics to interpreters serving Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing
December 17, 2020

For the first time in Canada, paramedics can connect Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing patients with live American Sign Language interpreters using an app on their iPhones.

Read more about the app.

Teamwork results in rapid deployment of Virtual Health for monitoring of COVID-19 cases
September 17, 2020

The BC Centre for Disease Control COVID-19 Surge Office collaborated with PHSA Office of Virtual Health, IMITS and regional health authorities to rapidly deploy a technical solution for managing clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full article about the solution they developed here.

$3.3. million in funding from Canada Health Infoway will support Virtual Health care across British Columbia during COVID-19 and beyond
July 29, 2020

The people of B.C. will have continued access to Virtual Health care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with generous support from Canada Health Infoway (Infoway), which is providing $3.3 million to the province, to be split between Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and the B.C. Ministry of Health.

PHSA is pleased to be recipients of funding from Infoway, a not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government that works with partners to accelerate the development, adoption and effective use of digital health across Canada.

Read the full announcement on the Infoway website.


Video Remote Interpreter collaboration between OVH and Provincial Language Service in online magazine
April 7, 2020

An article about the OVH Video Remote Interpreter demonstration project with Provincial Language Services was published in the April edition of Hospital News, a national online health care magazine.



Our demonstration projects with Think Research, a Canadian health technology innovator, help B.C. patients stay well, at home. 
April 1, 2020

An article in Canadian Healthcare Technology, an online magazine, covers the project success rate and patient feedback.



High demand and positive feedback spurs expansion of virtual interpreting service across three health authorities
Friday, February 14, 2020

A video remote interpreter service launched by Provincial Language Service in December is set to give even more patients with limited English proficiency better access to care.



New virtual interpreting service gives patients with limited English proficiency better access to care
Friday, January 10, 2020

A new video remote interpreter service being tested at BC Cancer ensures language is not a barrier to care for patients.

2019

Digital Health Week in Canada
Nov. 14, 2019

To recognize the importance of how virtual health is transforming the delivery of care across Canada, we launched a video that shares the stories of two patients who are benefiting from Virtual Health visits. Watch the 2-minute video 2-minute video.

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TEC Vancouver Conference, Nov. 2
Nov 4, 2019

Kathy Steegstra addressed an international audience at the 2019 TEC Vancouver Conference focused on innovative solutions in health care.  
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Kathy explained how the Office of Virtual Health is working to collaborate with health authorities across B.C. for Virtual Health.


e-Health Annual Conference & Trade Show in Toronto, May 26 to 29
May 27, 2019

Our OVH teammates attended – and presented – at the annual conference.

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Michele Fryer, Director, Office of Virtual Health, gives a presentation on how OVH is collaborating with clinical partners to integrate Virtual Health into clinical programs at PHSA.

BC Patient Safety & Quality Council Forum, Vancouver, February 28, 2019
Feb. 28, 2019

The Office of Virtual Health teamed with two Virtual Health partners to present at the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council Forum on February 27, 2019. 

The Virtual Health initiative with BC Cancer-Victoria gave cancer patients follow up care in the comfort of their own homes!

Working with BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services on the Breaking Free Online initiative that provides inpatients with tablets as an option to learn and progress at their own pace, rather than only during set meeting times.

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OVH team members at the Forum: 
Morenike, Kathy, Pooja, Michele and Ying

OVH and its clinical partners are honoured with a PHSA+ Award
Feb. 1, 2019

"Pioneering and innovative." Thank you judges for honouring the OVH and its clinical partners, BC Cancer-Victoria and BC Women's Hospital + Women's Health Centre CCDP, with a PHSA+ Award!

Our inaugural PHSA Virtual Health Forum was a success!
Nov. 5, 2018

On Friday, November 2, leaders from PHSA programs and neighbouring health authorities gathered at the Chan Centre for Family Health Education for the inaugural PHSA Virtual Health Forum. The event was a timely opportunity to mark Digital Health Week (November 12-18), an annual celebration and recognition of how digital (or virtual) health is transforming the delivery of care across Canada. 
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