Ontario government unveils digital health strategy with video visits, online records

The first phase of the strategy will be implemented next year

Ontario has unveiled its Digital First for Health strategy that aims to give patients more options with their visits and make health care simpler.

Part of the strategy plans to allow patients to book more appointments online and review their own electronic health records, according to Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliot.

Elliot says the strategy implements more video visits with health-care professionals. For instance, there will be 55,000 more video visits provided by doctors to patients in the next year. The video visits can take place where the patient chooses, such as in their own home.

The government says that two third of Canadians are interested in consulting with health care providers through a virtual platform. Although video visits wouldn’t be appropriate for every visit, the government is urging Ontarians to talk to their doctor about the option.

The strategy also hopes to introduce more virtual tools, such as secure messaging between doctors and their patients.

Another focus of the strategy is data integration and predictive analytics. Health care providers will face fewer barriers when integrating and using secure health information to manage health resources and improve patient care. The government says that this can lead to earlier intervention and better management of chronic disease.

Elliot says that the digital health strategy is expected to be fully implemented by either 2021 or 2022.

Source: Government of Ontario