Revolutionizing healthcare with Canada’s first virtual hospital

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As part of our commitment to innovation, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) launched Women’s Virtual – Canada’s first virtual hospital – at the end of 2019. As a result of this expertise and existing virtual care infrastructure, WCH quickly adapted to respond to the needs of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the implementation of Women’s Virtual, digital health tools have been rolled out in a phased approach across the hospital. Electronic Medical Record (EMR) integrated video visits were the first tool to be piloted in our mental health program. Recognizing the need to continue to provide essential care throughout COVID-19, teams across the hospital were able to convert many in-person visits to video visits within in a few short weeks. Today, the majority of our clinics offer video visits.

“COVID-19 greatly accelerated the number of video visits conducted at WCH. As a result, our evaluation team is assessing their impact on patient and provider experience, healthcare utilization and population health through multiple evaluation sources,” said Dr. Payal Agarwal, co-evaluation lead of Women’s Virtual, family physician at WCH and innovation fellow at the Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV). “This evaluation will help improve the implementation of Women’s Virtual at WCH, allowing us to be nimble and adjust as needed ensuring the highest quality of care possible.”

While in the early phase, evaluation is key to successfully achieving the vision of Women’s Virtual. The team is working collaboratively with various members of the organization to implement learnings and improve care delivery. 

“We have developed key performance indicators, an evaluation framework and have begun provider and patient surveys to understand experiences with virtual care,” explained Dr. Geetha Mukerji, co-evaluation lead of Women’s Virtual, staff endocrinologist and innovation fellow at WIHV. “As this work continues, we will aim to assess quality of care delivery and share our findings with other organizations so that these learnings can be spread across the healthcare system.”

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