Proponents of virtual care have long stressed the many potential benefits it could eventually convey, including improved access/equity, integration of care, and environmental sustainability. The relatively slow adoption of virtual care meant that the full realization of these promises was years away – until recently, when COVID-19 prompted an unprecedented uptick in the use of virtual healthcare technologies across Canada. Yet the associated benefits and long-term viability (and indeed, desirability) of this dramatic transformation are unclear. Have we fast-tracked our way to the type and level of virtual care provision that will allow us to achieve our objectives around patient care, health outcomes, and environmental sustainability, or locked ourselves into an iteration of virtual care that will limit their realization? Our panelists consider the financial, social, and environmental implications of continuing on, abandoning, or altering the trajectory COVID-19 has put us on with respect to virtual care.
Rapid Virtualization of Care Delivery in the Pandemic: Is it all it’s cracked up to be?