Patient Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Use of Virtual Care

J Med Internet Res. 2021 Jan 21;23(1):e20621. doi: 10.2196/20621.


Virtual care, the use of videoconferencing technology to connect with patients, has become critical in providing continuing care for patients during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual care has now been adopted by health care providers across the spectrum, including physicians, residents, nurse practitioners, nurses, and allied health care professionals. Virtual care is novel and nuanced compared to in-person care. Most of the health care providers who are delivering or expected to deliver virtual care have little to no prior experience with it. The nuances of virtual care involve regulatory standards, platforms, technology and troubleshooting, patient selection, etiquette, and workflow, all of which comprise critical points in the provision of health care. It is important to consistently deliver high-quality, equitable, and professional virtual care to inspire patients with the trust they need to continue follow-up of their care in these difficult times. We have been adopting virtual care in our clinical practice for over two years. In partnership with Canada Health Infoway, we have assembled a primer for virtual care that can serve as a guide for any health care provider in Canada and globally, with the goal of providing seamless transitions between in-person and virtual care.

Keywords: digital health; email; internet; medical informatics; patient-physician relationship; telemedicine; teleneurology; virtual care.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Canada
  • Checklist
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Pandemics
  • Patient Care
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Telemedicine*