A Pandemic Bright Spot: Virtual Health Care

  • May 01, 2021
  • Joshua Lerner

At the risk of stating the obvious, one of the biggest impacts of the pandemic has been the shift to a remote existence in almost every facet of daily life. While many of us will be happy to leave “Zoom cocktail hour” in the past, there are some aspects of our online life which will prove to be permanent fixtures in the future. Notwithstanding the varied responses that remote meetings elicit, there is little doubt that the shift toward virtual health care has been a bright spot during the pandemic. Below are some examples of virtual health care resources which are convenient ways for all of us, whether a young lawyer or not, to manage our health during such a difficult time. 

While remote health care is by no means new (telemedicine has been around for decades), the broader adoption of virtual health care has been dramatically accelerated, purely out of necessity, during the pandemic. Over the last year, I have advised numerous health care professionals and organizations on how to navigate this virtual shift. My hope is that this article will shed light on some of the available resources and their benefits in order to help you cope with a more isolated experience until we can return to “precedented” times. 

Perhaps the easiest way of accessing virtual care is through the plethora of apps available on our mobile devices. Through these many apps, in only a few clicks you can schedule an appointment to have a video call directly with a physician. Many of these platforms are available at no charge, as your virtual visit is billed directly to OHIP. Of course, virtual visits with a physician do not replace the need for some in-person appointments, particularly when a physical examination is required. However, they do provide an extremely fast and convenient option for connecting with a physician that is sufficient in most situations, such as discussing a possible illness, requesting a test or bloodwork, or refilling a prescription. More often than not, simply video chatting through one of these platforms can replace the need to go visit your physician in person—saving you both time and effort. 

Additionally, there are numerous apps and platforms that offer services and treatment aimed at your mental health. These apps provide therapeutic exercises and techniques that assist with managing stress and anxiety. Some of these exercises are grounded in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), making this treatment much more accessible than before. Further, apps focused on meditation and mindfulness have soared in popularity over the last year, as many of us have sought a convenient way of dealing with the stress and uncertainty inherent in an ongoing pandemic.