Provision of Virtual Outpatient Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond: Enabling Factors and Experiences from the UBC Pharmacists Clinic

  • Jillian Reardon The University of British Columbia
  • Jamie Yuen The University of British Columbia
  • Timothy Lim The University of British Columbia
  • Richard Ng The University of British Columbia
  • Barbara Gobis The University of British Columbia

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated an unprecedented level of interest in, and uptake of, technology-enabled virtual health care delivery as clinicians seek ways to safely care for patients with physical distancing. This paper describes the UBC Pharmacists Clinic’s technical systems and lessons learned using enabling technology and the provision of virtual patient care by pharmacists.  

 Of 2036 scheduled appointments at the clinic in 2019, only 1.5% of initial appointments were conducted virtually which increased to 64% for follow-up appointments. Survey respondents (n = 18) indicated an overall high satisfaction with the format, quality of care delivery, ease of use and benefits to their overall health. Other reports indicate that the majority of patients would like the option to book appointments electronically, email their healthcare provider, and have telehealth visits, although a small minority (8%) have access to virtual modes of care. The Clinic team is bridging the technology gap to better align virtual service provision with patient preferences. Practical advice and information gained through experience are shared here.

 As the general population and health care providers become increasingly comfortable with video conferencing as a result of COVID-19, it is anticipated that requests for video appointments will increase, technological barriers will decrease and conditions will enable providers to increase their virtual care capabilities. Lessons learned at the Clinic have application to pharmacists in both out-patient and in-patient care settings.

 

Article Type: Clinical Experience

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Dates
Received 2020-08-26
Accepted 2020-09-25
Published 2020-10-28
Section
Pharmacy Practice & Practice-Based Research