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Virtual Care Resource Hub for Staff and Physicians

Please note: This page will be updated from time to time, so we encourage you to bookmark and revisit periodically. This information is for internal use by Southlake providers.

This page is intended to be a centralized, easy-to-navigate virtual care resource that contains various tools and information on how to begin, adopt, and sustain virtual care delivery through various digital health tools.

Our focus right now is on enabling virtual visits quickly to keep our providers and patients safe, while ensuring quality clinical care can continue, where needed.

If you require support or have questions, please contact jsaindon@southlakeregional.org for a quick virtual care consultation so we can ensure an optimal experience for you and your patients.

  1. Telephone
  2. Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN)
  3. Microsoft Teams
  4. Meditech Virtual Visits (coming soon)

General Guidance

  • When deciding which virtual care platform or tool to use to support your virtual care needs, please consider the following guidelines:
    • Where in-person visits are considered optional, telephone should be used at minimum. Video visits are recommended and certainly should be used for patients that require a face-to-face encounter. Departments should determine a clear set of criteria for when a video visit is appropriate over a phone visit.
    • Providers that have subscribed and have been using OTN services and are comfortable to proceed in this fashion should continue to do so.
    • Providers who require or prefer a video visit, but have not subscribed to OTN, can use Microsoft TEAMS, a secure, and supported enterprise-wide video conferencing solution. Soon, Meditech Virtual Visits will be available as a third video visit channel.
    • As always, patient privacy is critical, including during delivery of virtual care. Providers must follow the rules and expectations for capturing consent and review the etiquette for conducting video visits outlined in training materials. Particular patient consent information is available in the ‘Tools and Resources’ section.
    • Secure email can be used as a supporting technology with patients, but is not recognized for medical consultations or visits. Given risks associated with use of email and if you intend to use email with patients, you must use your Southlake email account, comply with relevant Southlake policies for electronic communication, and consent the patient appropriately.
    • Our virtual resource hub also provides guidelines for virtual visit registration and documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

a) Decision Tree (for selecting a virtual care modality)

For each virtual visit, please consider which modality would be most appropriate and offer the same quality of care. The decision tree below can hopefully help to inform this choice.

* Meditech Virtual Visits solution will soon be an alternate to Teams

b) Getting Started with Virtual Care

Before conducting a virtual video visit with a patient, below are a series of criteria and related questions that you should consider, to ensure readiness and optimal experience for all parties.

c) Virtual Care Best Practices and Etiquette

Below are some curated best practices and etiquette considerations to improve the virtual care experience for all parties:

  • Keep it simple
    • When first introducing virtual care options, identify your workflow and where virtual care fits in to minimize impact and realize efficiencies
    • Identify which patients or appointment types are best suited for virtual care and which of those require video
    • Choose a virtual care modality (e.g., phone, video, secure messaging) and channel (e.g., OTN, TEAMs) that is simple and a good fit for all parties
  • Test the technology
    • Prepare to log into the video application at least 5-10 minutes prior to the start of the virtual consultation.
    • If you are using a computer or laptop, please make sure that your camera and microphone/headset/speakers are connected.
    • Test your audio (mic and speakers) and check your video
    • Be sure that all recording settings are turned off.
    • Although the technology (e.g., OTN, Microsoft Teams) enables the ability to perform a meeting via smartphone, its best to use a computer/laptop when possible. This provides a better connection, easier to document in the EMR and take notes if required.
  • Register the (virtual) visit
    • All virtual care visits, must register patients to ensure proper workflow, billing, reporting, and dictation matching.
  • Etiquette
    As with in-person visits or consults, professional etiquette should be respected and consistently applied. This could include:

    • To avoid disruptions, turn off notifications by muting email notification sounds and putting your phone on silent.
    • Avoid multi-tasking so that you are fully engaged during the virtual visit.
    • Create a professional remote office, which should be quiet, have good lighting, and a neutral background.
    • After you establish the connection, verify that the audio and video is working for you and your patient.
    • Introduce yourself to your patient, confirm patient identity following in-person protocol, and obtain verbal consent to proceed with the virtual visit encounter (see Consent Script).
    • Speak clearly into your microphone. There is likely no need to raise your voice.
    • There may be a slight delay, so pause when you ask a question.
    • Position your camera on top of the computer screen so you will naturally be able to make eye contact.
    • If you need to take a call, excuse yourself and use the ‘mute’ and the ‘camera’ off features on the video interface.

d) Virtual Care Quick Reference Checklist

e) Obtaining patient consent for receipt of care virtually

  1. Template script for obtaining verbal patient consent
  2. Template for obtaining patient consent to communicate via email during COVID-19

f) Registration and scheduling appointments (coming soon)

g) Using OTN

  2. ONE ID Registration for Physicians
  3. OTN Virtual Visit Solution Guidance
  4. OTNHub Account Set Up
  5. OTNHub Video Visits Help
  6. OTN: Direct-to-Patient Video Visits Toolkit
  7. OTN: Hosted Video Visits Toolkit

h) Using TEAMS

  1. Overview of how TEAMS can be used to empower healthcare professionals
  2. Set up Guide for Patients (coming soon)
  3. Set up Guide for Providers (coming soon)

i) Using Meditech Virtual Visits (section coming soon)


Page last updated: April 23, 2020