Advancements in virtual medical clinics a silver lining in Hamilton's COVID-19 fight

Community Jul 02, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

As Dr. Anthony Adili explains, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been all bad news for Hamilton’s hospitals.

Adili, chief of surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, said the hospital system has made major inroads into virtual medical appointments, using video conferencing.

“During COVID-19, we were forced to adopt different ways of delivering care to patients that need it, adhering to physical distancing and things like that, (with) virtual visits to maintain care,” he said.

Before the pandemic, said Adili, St. Joe’s used to do 4,000 to 5,000 virtual clinics a year. From March to June of this year, Adili estimates the hospital has done over 20,000 virtual clinics.

“The patients have taken to it fantastically as well,” said Adili, who added patient and family advisory groups have also embraced the technology.

Dr. Stephen Kelly, surgeon in chief at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), estimated HHS has performed over 25,000 virtual appointments during the pandemic. Virtual visits can be useful for followup appointments, such as reviewing test or scan results, he noted.

“It’s much easier for people to do over the phone, or with a virtual visit,” Kelly said. “(Patients) love it because they’re not having to wait; they’re not having to park and all of that.”

While outpatient and ambulatory clinics are gradually ramping up once again, Adili expects more appointments will take place on a virtual basis, even post-pandemic.

“The infrastructure is in place,” he said. “What we’re finding is that many clinics going forward, even after the pandemic clears, maybe 80 per cent of the visits will continue as virtual.”

For example, a virtual clinic could be used for a followup appointment with a thoracic surgeon to review a normal CT scan.

“That’s a great opportunity where you can do a virtual video conference with a patient,” Adili said. “You can show them, ‘This is what I found; this is what I want to do next. There’s nothing here of concern and let me follow up in six months.’”

Adili said that while virtual visits are growing, in-person appointments are here to stay as well.

“I do think there’s a role to meet your physician face-to-face and maybe that could be your first visit that you establish that doctor-patient relationship,” he said. “I don’t want to lose that.”

Advancements in virtual medical clinics a silver lining in Hamilton's COVID-19 fight

Community Jul 02, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

As Dr. Anthony Adili explains, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been all bad news for Hamilton’s hospitals.

Adili, chief of surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, said the hospital system has made major inroads into virtual medical appointments, using video conferencing.

“During COVID-19, we were forced to adopt different ways of delivering care to patients that need it, adhering to physical distancing and things like that, (with) virtual visits to maintain care,” he said.

Before the pandemic, said Adili, St. Joe’s used to do 4,000 to 5,000 virtual clinics a year. From March to June of this year, Adili estimates the hospital has done over 20,000 virtual clinics.

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“The patients have taken to it fantastically as well,” said Adili, who added patient and family advisory groups have also embraced the technology.

Dr. Stephen Kelly, surgeon in chief at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), estimated HHS has performed over 25,000 virtual appointments during the pandemic. Virtual visits can be useful for followup appointments, such as reviewing test or scan results, he noted.

“It’s much easier for people to do over the phone, or with a virtual visit,” Kelly said. “(Patients) love it because they’re not having to wait; they’re not having to park and all of that.”

While outpatient and ambulatory clinics are gradually ramping up once again, Adili expects more appointments will take place on a virtual basis, even post-pandemic.

“The infrastructure is in place,” he said. “What we’re finding is that many clinics going forward, even after the pandemic clears, maybe 80 per cent of the visits will continue as virtual.”

For example, a virtual clinic could be used for a followup appointment with a thoracic surgeon to review a normal CT scan.

“That’s a great opportunity where you can do a virtual video conference with a patient,” Adili said. “You can show them, ‘This is what I found; this is what I want to do next. There’s nothing here of concern and let me follow up in six months.’”

Adili said that while virtual visits are growing, in-person appointments are here to stay as well.

“I do think there’s a role to meet your physician face-to-face and maybe that could be your first visit that you establish that doctor-patient relationship,” he said. “I don’t want to lose that.”

Advancements in virtual medical clinics a silver lining in Hamilton's COVID-19 fight

Community Jul 02, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

As Dr. Anthony Adili explains, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been all bad news for Hamilton’s hospitals.

Adili, chief of surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, said the hospital system has made major inroads into virtual medical appointments, using video conferencing.

“During COVID-19, we were forced to adopt different ways of delivering care to patients that need it, adhering to physical distancing and things like that, (with) virtual visits to maintain care,” he said.

Before the pandemic, said Adili, St. Joe’s used to do 4,000 to 5,000 virtual clinics a year. From March to June of this year, Adili estimates the hospital has done over 20,000 virtual clinics.

Related Content

“The patients have taken to it fantastically as well,” said Adili, who added patient and family advisory groups have also embraced the technology.

Dr. Stephen Kelly, surgeon in chief at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), estimated HHS has performed over 25,000 virtual appointments during the pandemic. Virtual visits can be useful for followup appointments, such as reviewing test or scan results, he noted.

“It’s much easier for people to do over the phone, or with a virtual visit,” Kelly said. “(Patients) love it because they’re not having to wait; they’re not having to park and all of that.”

While outpatient and ambulatory clinics are gradually ramping up once again, Adili expects more appointments will take place on a virtual basis, even post-pandemic.

“The infrastructure is in place,” he said. “What we’re finding is that many clinics going forward, even after the pandemic clears, maybe 80 per cent of the visits will continue as virtual.”

For example, a virtual clinic could be used for a followup appointment with a thoracic surgeon to review a normal CT scan.

“That’s a great opportunity where you can do a virtual video conference with a patient,” Adili said. “You can show them, ‘This is what I found; this is what I want to do next. There’s nothing here of concern and let me follow up in six months.’”

Adili said that while virtual visits are growing, in-person appointments are here to stay as well.

“I do think there’s a role to meet your physician face-to-face and maybe that could be your first visit that you establish that doctor-patient relationship,” he said. “I don’t want to lose that.”