St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton offers remote emergency visits

News Jul 29, 2020 by Mike Pearson hamiltonnews.com

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is giving patients an opportunity to see an emergency department physician — without visiting a hospital or urgent care centre — through a new virtual care system.

Launched on July 29, the virtual care service connects patients with an emergency physician using Zoom, for a 10-minute appointment. The service is available Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Up to 48 patients can be accommodated daily on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dr. Greg Rutledge, chief of emergency medicine at St. Joseph’s, said patients should continue to seek care from their family doctor. But for those who lack a family doctor, or can’t get an appointment, the virtual care program is designed to be another entry point to the health-care system. Virtual appointments are suitable for individuals 18 and older who are experiencing urgent but non-life-threatening concerns.

“The goal of this program is to be a permanent program,” said Rutledge. “This isn’t a pilot project. I think there is an opportunity there to address concerns the patient may have without having to come to a hospital or direct them back to their family doctor.”

While the coronavirus pandemic — and a potential second wave — has brought virtual care to the forefront, Rutledge said the long-term goal is to expand the program beyond its daytime hours.

Examples of medical issues that could be addressed through virtual appointments include rashes, sore throats, headaches and muscle strains. Chest or abdominal pains can be harder to assess on a virtual basis, said Rutledge, and may require an in-person visit.

Virtual appointments can be arranged by filling out a request form at www.stjoes.ca/emergencyvirtualvisits. Patients will receive an automated message by email or text message with an appointment time. Once the appointment is confirmed, a Zoom link is sent to the patient.

To participate in a virtual care session, patients need a computer, tablet or smartphone with a microphone and video capability.

Based on the appointment, an emergency room physician can determine the patient’s next step, including whether the patient should seek care at an emergency department or urgent care centre, for example.

Rutledge said virtual appointments can assist with physical distancing requirements and help patients determine the best time to visit an emergency department, to avoid long waits.

He noted that emergency departments and urgent care centres in Hamilton are ready for in-person visits and are safe for patients seeking care.

But for those with a medical concern that isn’t life-threatening, a virtual visit can help allay fears over physical distancing.

“Our hope is that this is well received within the community, that it’s a program that works well, both for us, for family medicine, the patients and the community and that this gets expanded,” said Rutledge. “That’s the hope and the goal.”

St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton offers remote emergency visits

Virtual appointment program launched July 29

News Jul 29, 2020 by Mike Pearson hamiltonnews.com

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is giving patients an opportunity to see an emergency department physician — without visiting a hospital or urgent care centre — through a new virtual care system.

Launched on July 29, the virtual care service connects patients with an emergency physician using Zoom, for a 10-minute appointment. The service is available Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Up to 48 patients can be accommodated daily on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dr. Greg Rutledge, chief of emergency medicine at St. Joseph’s, said patients should continue to seek care from their family doctor. But for those who lack a family doctor, or can’t get an appointment, the virtual care program is designed to be another entry point to the health-care system. Virtual appointments are suitable for individuals 18 and older who are experiencing urgent but non-life-threatening concerns.

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“The goal of this program is to be a permanent program,” said Rutledge. “This isn’t a pilot project. I think there is an opportunity there to address concerns the patient may have without having to come to a hospital or direct them back to their family doctor.”

While the coronavirus pandemic — and a potential second wave — has brought virtual care to the forefront, Rutledge said the long-term goal is to expand the program beyond its daytime hours.

Examples of medical issues that could be addressed through virtual appointments include rashes, sore throats, headaches and muscle strains. Chest or abdominal pains can be harder to assess on a virtual basis, said Rutledge, and may require an in-person visit.

Virtual appointments can be arranged by filling out a request form at www.stjoes.ca/emergencyvirtualvisits. Patients will receive an automated message by email or text message with an appointment time. Once the appointment is confirmed, a Zoom link is sent to the patient.

To participate in a virtual care session, patients need a computer, tablet or smartphone with a microphone and video capability.

Based on the appointment, an emergency room physician can determine the patient’s next step, including whether the patient should seek care at an emergency department or urgent care centre, for example.

Rutledge said virtual appointments can assist with physical distancing requirements and help patients determine the best time to visit an emergency department, to avoid long waits.

He noted that emergency departments and urgent care centres in Hamilton are ready for in-person visits and are safe for patients seeking care.

But for those with a medical concern that isn’t life-threatening, a virtual visit can help allay fears over physical distancing.

“Our hope is that this is well received within the community, that it’s a program that works well, both for us, for family medicine, the patients and the community and that this gets expanded,” said Rutledge. “That’s the hope and the goal.”

St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton offers remote emergency visits

Virtual appointment program launched July 29

News Jul 29, 2020 by Mike Pearson hamiltonnews.com

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is giving patients an opportunity to see an emergency department physician — without visiting a hospital or urgent care centre — through a new virtual care system.

Launched on July 29, the virtual care service connects patients with an emergency physician using Zoom, for a 10-minute appointment. The service is available Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Up to 48 patients can be accommodated daily on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dr. Greg Rutledge, chief of emergency medicine at St. Joseph’s, said patients should continue to seek care from their family doctor. But for those who lack a family doctor, or can’t get an appointment, the virtual care program is designed to be another entry point to the health-care system. Virtual appointments are suitable for individuals 18 and older who are experiencing urgent but non-life-threatening concerns.

Related Content

“The goal of this program is to be a permanent program,” said Rutledge. “This isn’t a pilot project. I think there is an opportunity there to address concerns the patient may have without having to come to a hospital or direct them back to their family doctor.”

While the coronavirus pandemic — and a potential second wave — has brought virtual care to the forefront, Rutledge said the long-term goal is to expand the program beyond its daytime hours.

Examples of medical issues that could be addressed through virtual appointments include rashes, sore throats, headaches and muscle strains. Chest or abdominal pains can be harder to assess on a virtual basis, said Rutledge, and may require an in-person visit.

Virtual appointments can be arranged by filling out a request form at www.stjoes.ca/emergencyvirtualvisits. Patients will receive an automated message by email or text message with an appointment time. Once the appointment is confirmed, a Zoom link is sent to the patient.

To participate in a virtual care session, patients need a computer, tablet or smartphone with a microphone and video capability.

Based on the appointment, an emergency room physician can determine the patient’s next step, including whether the patient should seek care at an emergency department or urgent care centre, for example.

Rutledge said virtual appointments can assist with physical distancing requirements and help patients determine the best time to visit an emergency department, to avoid long waits.

He noted that emergency departments and urgent care centres in Hamilton are ready for in-person visits and are safe for patients seeking care.

But for those with a medical concern that isn’t life-threatening, a virtual visit can help allay fears over physical distancing.

“Our hope is that this is well received within the community, that it’s a program that works well, both for us, for family medicine, the patients and the community and that this gets expanded,” said Rutledge. “That’s the hope and the goal.”