Virtual Acute Primary Care

Written by: Serena Menezes, Family Physician

The past eight months at SRCHC have been both challenging and highly rewarding. I have had the privilege of working with and learning from skilled colleagues to help deliver care to Toronto’s most vulnerable.

I am relatively new to practice, having graduated from my residency program in 2019. Thus, more than half of my career as a primary care provider has been within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, and I have been impressed by our clinical team’s dedication to providing comprehensive care during these challenging times. Although this pandemic has been difficult, an opportunity emerged to provide virtual primary care in an unprecedented way.

For our clients who have access to a phone and/or internet, virtual care has reduced some of the common barriers to accessing care such as time needed to take off from work for appointments, and mobility issues that often keep patients from having regular follow-up appointments. And thinking about what primary health care could look like post-pandemic, virtual care could continue to play a valuable role. By providing access, especially to our clients who struggle with mobility, have challenges with transport, or need to prioritize their work over appointments, this kind of care remains important.

When we emerge from the pandemic, there might be a temptation to go back to the previous way of offering care. In-person clinical assessments are still essential in certain situations, but we can try to draw from our recent experience and incorporate, when appropriate, these new, virtual tools to help us deliver care.