Sudbury Star published March 24, 2022
The City of Lakes Family Health Team has received $68,721 from Ontario’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Recovery program to support virtual primary care.
The funding will be used to “optimize access to virtual care for patients at all City of Lakes Family Health Team’s (FHT) clinic in Sudbury, Chelmsford, Walden, and Val Caron,” the group said in a release.
Virtual care, which gained popularity during the pandemic, is the use of video, phone, and messaging to five patients access to their provider without having to physically go to the clinic.
The release said it improves patient and caregiver experience by “facilitating more convenient, timely, and equitable access to care.”
“Since the onset of the pandemic, virtual care has enabled patients to see their providers even when public health restrictions limited the number of patients that could congregate at a primary care clinic,” the health team said.
“It also gave both providers and patients an opportunity to experience virtual care and, as a result, has accelerated the adoption of virtual care technologies for delivering primary care.”
Going forward, virtual care will continue to be available for providers and patients who choose to use the technology while providers continue to offer in-person services and appointments.
“Our patients love the option of being able to connect with their provider by phone or video,” said City of Lakes FHT executive director Dave Courtemanche.
“Especially this time of year when it can be very difficult for some people to leave their homes and drive through hazardous winter road conditions.”
The provincial funding will help City of Lakes FHT implement, expand, and sustain a hybrid solution of virtual care, including virtual video and phone appointments and home visits.
It will also enable patients to book an appointment online at www.yourFHT.com and allow patients to connect with their provider by sending safe and secure messages directly from the website.
City of Lakes FHT is an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals working to provide primary health care services to more than 20,000 residents of Greater Sudbury.