CAMH expands virtual mental health services amid COVID-19 pandemic

The hospital has increased its number of virtual visits by 750 percent

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto is expanding its virtual care visits amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, the hospital provided virtual care to more than 3,000 patients in Ontario. Now, from March to April 2020 alone, its virtual care visits have increased from around 350 per month, to almost 3,000 per month, which is a 750 percent increase.

The hospital has been able to expand its services through a partnership with Cisco and its Webex platform. The platform was deployed across the organization in March, and enabled the training of around 400 CAMH clinicians, up from the 50 it trained in February.

With the online platform, patients are given more flexibility with scheduling appointments and follow-ups, along with shorter wait times. Most importantly, it allows for remote care during a time when people are adhering to physical distancing guidelines.

“There is no going back. The adoption of virtual health platforms will be a permanent and growing fixture of the healthcare system, and be offered as an accessible, flexible and secure mental health care option for patient care going forward,” said Dr. Catherine Zahn, the CEO of CAMH in a press release.

This comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that the government is investing $240 million CAD to bring healthcare online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over a two-year partnership with CAMH, Cisco has contributed nearly $2 million in technology, funding and services to support research and develop new models of care.

We’ll likely see more health organizations expand their virtual healthcare services in the next few weeks to adapt to the ongoing pandemic.

Image credit: CAMH

Source: Cisco Canada