At Women’s College Hospital we are revolutionizing healthcare for the 21st century to deliver better access, improved outcomes and next level patient experience. As part of our commitment to innovation and continual improvement, we launched Women’s Virtual, Canada’s first virtual hospital, in November 2019.
Working with our health system partners, WCH has developed a series of virtual care programs focused on enhancing care, as well as supporting and working with providers in primary care and long-term care.
SCOPE (Seamless Care Optimizing the Patient Experience) connects and supports primary care providers (PCPs) with:
- A single, centralized, standardized point of access to support Health System Navigation (both community and hospital resource navigation);
- Real-time consultation and support for complex and urgent patients;
- Access to mental health supports and care coordination for structurally vulnerable patients through Telemedicine Impact Plus (TIP) Program; and
- Access to a Chronic Headache Program.
SCOPE is based on developing meaningful relationships with allied health professionals and specialists who value primary care. The program was co-designed and co-created by family physicians to reduce fragmentation and maximize efficient use of services.
Learn more or join SCOPE today at scopehub.ca
The SCOPE Coordination Hub, comprised of a team at the University Health Network and Women’s College Hospital, supports the scale and spread of the SCOPE program provincially as well as conducting the evaluation of the SCOPE Program.
SCOPE is funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Health.
Aging in Place
Our Aging in Place program partners with long-term care (LTC) homes and community providers to allow older adults to age at home, where they want to be.
Our first Aging in Place initiative is LTC+, a virtual care program that connects LTC nursing staff and physicians to virtual consultations with medical specialists 24/7 and advanced practice nursing. The initiative also provides the LTC team with access to other services, such as the availability of STAT labs and community paramedicine, that enables them to provide high-quality care to residents in the LTC home setting and avoid unnecessary transfers to hospitals.
As we all now know, seniors and those with compromised immune systems need to be particularly careful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reducing unnecessary ED transfers is an important step towards protecting their health and reducing the spread of COVID-19. LTC+ will be available to all 37 LTC homes in the Toronto area.
Women’s Virtual is integrating a variety of digital health tools, like online peer support groups and video visits, into WCH’s existing clinical areas in a phased approach over the next three years. Enabling WCH to enhance our health services and ensure that patients get care in whichever way best addresses their needs.
Part of our virtual strategy is ensuring that patients who need care continue to receive it in a manner that is safe and responsive without having to leave home. Today the majority of our clinics are virtually enabled via phone, video or secure messaging. These services have been ramped up in response to COIVD-19.
Most of our clinics across the hospital are utilizing video visits to enhance access and continuity of care for patients. To learn how to conduct a video visit, please visit the video visits instructions page.
eConsult allows physicians and nurse practitioners to connect virtually with specialist colleagues to gain advice on patient care. Leveraging this tool, allows providers to get timely advice and often eliminates the need for an in-person specialist visit. WCH is the regional lead for eConsult in the Toronto central region. In this role, our Women’s Virtual team works to on-board and support providers in using this digital tool.
To learn more, visit: econsultontario.ca
Virtual Revolution - Heather’s CEO Blog
Virtual Care - We Are Women’s Report
How WCH is Leveraging Virtual Care to Address COVID-19 - WCH Connect
Leading the Way – Globe and Mail
Patient Access and Empowerment – Globe and Mail
What is Women’s Virtual?
Women’s Virtual at Women’s College Hospital is leveraging technology to build Canada’s first virtual hospital. By using digital health tools and virtual models of care, we are re-imagining how healthcare is delivered making it more accessible, responsive and equitable.
A virtual hospital allows us to treat and care for patients in the setting most appropriate for them, that could be at home or it could be at the hospital. Leveraging digital tools, like video visits and online peer support groups, helps us provide care in a way that best addresses your specific patient needs.
We have a comprehensive virtual care strategy that is being implemented and scaled across multiple areas in the hospital. As a result, virtual care can be incorporated throughout each patient’s journey. We believe that by building a core common virtual care infrastructure across our hospital we will be able to offer all of our patients, staff and physicians a truly innovative care experience.
Patients want modern healthcare that fits into their day-to-day lives and is tailored to their needs. Additionally, we know that taking time off work, spending money on transit or parking and finding childcare when visiting the hospital are all barriers to receiving timely and convenient healthcare.
Women’s Virtual is delivering care that is more responsive, more equitable and better integrated into patients’ lives. For example, women enrolled in our reproductive life stages program, a mental health program for mothers facing post-partum depression, are juggling the responsibilities that come with becoming a parent. Video visits offer them additional flexibility and gives them back time.
We know that virtual care will not necessarily be the right fit for each patient. It will be up to healthcare providers and their patients to determine if a digital tool best supports their care needs.
Women’s Virtual will not eliminate in-person care. All patients will experience a combination of in-person and virtual care. You will find that if you do come in for a face-to-face visit, it’s because it’s the best way to address your health needs. When other forms of care are available, like video visits, and they are as good or better than in-person care, than we will have those options available for you.
Protecting your personal health information is very important to us. WCH uses a variety of physical, administrative and technical methods to protect your personal health information from unauthorized access, use, copying, modification or disclosure. Some of these include using the myHealthRecord patient portal as a secure way of delivering care. Just like other online technology, virtual care tools have privacy and security risks that may result in a breach of your information. WCH continually monitors, reviews, and updates its practices to ensure the privacy and security of confidential information.
Please see our virtual visit FAQs for more information.
Women’s Virtual will reduce health system pressure in two key ways:
- The first is through our aging in place program. Many seniors find themselves in the emergency department unnecessarily, simply because an alternative option doesn’t exist. Our program provides an alternative care pathway so that seniors at our partnering long-term care homes are provided with a substitute to the emergency, freeing up hospital beds at our nearby hospital partners.
- Second, as we re-envision patient care through the use of digital tools and new models of care, our patients will develop a better understanding of their chronic conditions and will be enabled to better manage their illness or recovery from home. This ensures that patients care stay healthier for longer and helps to reduce avoidable complications.
Virtual care brings healthcare directly to the patient. As a result, it has strong benefits for patients who face barriers traveling to the hospital in-person, like those living in rural and remote communities or those with mobility difficulties. For example, patients living in rural or remote communities often find specialist care, like mental health care, difficult to access locally. Video visits and online support groups enable patients to receive mental health care from their homes.
Women’s College Hospital now offers Health Records on iPhone. Health Records enables patients to securely view and store their medical records from multiple different participating organizations directly on their iPhone. With a fuller picture of their medical information, patients are able to have more insight into their health, and richer conversations with their healthcare providers and family members.
Health Records creates a direct connection between medical institutions and a patient’s iPhone, allowing them to see a central view of their allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals. It also notifies patients when their data is updated. Health Records on iPhone was designed to protect patients’ privacy through utilizing a direct, encrypted connection between the user’s iPhone and the healthcare organization. Downloaded health records data is stored on-device and encrypted with the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID or Face ID.
Patients can access Health Records from within the Health app and can download their health records by selecting Women’s College Hospital and authenticating with their myHealthRecord username and password.
- Apple Health Records FAQs (.PDF)
- Apple Health Records Quick Start Guide (.PDF)
- Removing Health Records from your iOS Health app (.PDF)
Apple Health Records – Frequently Asked Questions
Health Records is an expanded version of the Health app already found on every Apple mobile product. It allows you to download, manage and utilize a personal copy of your health records from multiple institutions directly from your device.
It does this by connecting your Health app to a participating hospital’s patient portal, allowing you to download a copy of your health information onto your phone or device. This data can then be combined with your own self-generated data (e.g. apps tracking activity level or glucose levels).
If you would like to download a copy of your health records onto the Health app, you will need to first complete a one time set up for each patient portal you would like to link with the app.
As a WCH patient you will need to have a myHealthRecord account and use your myHealthRecord log-in information to verify your identity. For more information on how to set up a myHealthRecord account click here.
We have created a quick start guide and manual for patients outlining how to download the Health Records feature, to access it click here
No, you’re not required to use the app. It is an optional feature for you to use if you want to, once you have read Apple Health’s terms and conditions of use and satisfied yourself that Apple’s privacy and security measures are acceptable to you.
You will need to consult Apple’s user information to find out how often the app will synchronize with myHealthRecords. Synchronizing is not within the control of WCH and the frequency could change without notice to WCH. WCH does not have any control over the app or how often it updates, that is entirely under the control of Apple.
Women’s College Hospital cannot guarantee that myHealthRecord will be continually up to date with each patient’s latest information. MyHealthRecord data is not a replacement for medical advice and it may not contain your most up-to-date or accurate health information. Once you have authorized the release of your data to Apple or any other third party, WCH can no longer guarantee the privacy, accuracy or security of the data. Patients should always consult with their physician or healthcare provider before making decisions related to their health and ensure that care providers are aware that myHealthRecord information and Apple Health data may not be the most recent information available and accuracy is not guaranteed.
The Health Records app currently does not support imaging data. If you would like to view your imaging data, you can do so by logging into your myHealthRecord account from your web browser.
Once you have authorized the app to access your myHealthRecord content, all of your information on the myHealthRecords portal will be released to the app. You cannot select which content can be downloaded. If you do not feel comfortable or do not consent to having all of your myHealthRecord data released to the app, please do not authorize Women’s College Hospital to release your data.
Once you have allowed the app to access your data, Women’s College Hospital cannot terminate access for you. You have a few options to restrict or terminate the app’s access:
- follow the app’s process to restrict access;
- visit the “manage my linked apps and devices” page in myHealthRecord, which will allow you to remove access and prevent future syncing between the app and your health record account; or
- change your myHealthRecord portal password, so that the app is unable to access or update information from the portal.
It is important to note that terminating the app’s access to your myHealthRecord portal does not delete any data that the app may have previously downloaded onto your phone or device. It simply prevents the app from being able to access future information.
Neither myHealthRecord nor any third party that you may authorize WCH to release your data to is intended to replace your official patient medical record. Before making a decision regarding your health, you should always consult with your physician or healthcare provider.
Privacy and Security Questions
Apple issued a statement here confirming that your data is not accessed or stored by Apple in any way as of February 11, 2019. Please refer to Apple’s Privacy and Security terms for the most up to date information.
Once your health data has been downloaded to your device, you become the owner and custodian of the data and are responsible for managing who you share your data with including the Apple Improve Health Feature and third party applications.
For information on any third party app’s privacy and security measures, you should read the app user information. An app’s privacy and security measures are entirely under the control of the third party app and the measures they use may change over time. You should only make the decision to authorize the download of your personal health information to the third party app if you are comfortable with the privacy and security standards that the third party app has in place. Once you have authorized the third party app to download your information, WCH no longer has control over it and your information is no longer subject to WCH’s privacy and security measures and standards.
The Improve Health feature provides you with the option to share your data with Apple to improve the Health app’s performance. Women’s College Hospital does not recommend that you use this feature.
Once you transfer your health records data to the Health app, you are responsible for managing and protecting the data on your phones and devices. And you determine which third party apps you will share your health data with. Each third party app will have its own policies and procedures for how they guard and share your data. Learn how to view and manage the applications that have requested access to your Health Records.
You should immediately terminate access to your data by the third party app that you believe has misused or allowed an unauthorized use of your data. Keep in mind that the more access you give, the more difficult it may be to identify the source of the breach.
If you believe your personal health information has been misused in any way or that there has been unauthorized use of your personal health information, please contact our privacy department: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 416-323-7702.
Transferring any information over the internet always contains the possibility of risk, including the possibility that your data will be lost, stolen or misused.
Apple Health uses FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), an industry standard for transferring electronic medical records.
If you do not feel comfortable accepting the possibility of risk when transferring your personal health information to the app, then please do not participate in Apple Health.
Your health records data is encrypted and protected with your iPhone passcode, Touch ID or Face ID. Once a patient transfers her or his health records data to the app, you are then responsible for managing and protecting the data on your phones and devices. Each additional third party app on your device that requests access to your health data must be given permission by you to gain access. We strongly encourage you to carefully read the privacy and data use policies of each third party application you choose to allow to have access to your health data on your device.
Women’s College Hospital will never ask you for your personal health information or myHealthRecord information via email, text or over the phone. If you do receive such a request, do not respond as it may be an attempt by an outside party to fraudulently obtain your personal information. Please contact our privacy department immediately if you receive a request of this nature: email@example.com or by phone at 416-323-7702.
At Women’s College Hospital we are making healthcare more accessible, responsive and equitable through the use of digital health tools, like video visits. We know that taking time off work, spending money on transit or parking and finding childcare when visiting the hospital are all barriers to receiving timely and convenient care. Video visits bring care directly to the patient.
Patients report that video visits save them time, are convenient and easy to use. If your provider or clinic has contacted you about receiving care via video, below is a list of what you’ll need, including instructional videos and downloadable guides.
Patients must be in Ontario during their visit
Preparing for your Video Visit
To conduct a video visit at Women’s College Hospital, you’ll need the following:
- A myHealthRecord Account
- A computer, laptop, or mobile device with:
- A reliable and secure Wifi internet connection
- A front-facing camera (webcam)
- A microphone
- Speakers or headphones
For help or support with your video visit, please call 416-323-6205 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Live support is available Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Specific applications are required for conducting video visits on iPhone, iPad, and Android. Find your device below to learn how to access and what you’ll need for your video visit. For some devices, you will need to download applications (see your specific device below)
Video Visit Guide (macOS) (.pdf)
Download from the Zoom Website: ZOOM Client for macOS
Please note: Video visits will not launch from Apple’s Safari browser. Please download Google Chrome for the optimal experience.
Video Visit Guide (iOS) (.pdf)
Download from the App Store:
Please note: Video visits will not launch from your mobile browser (including Safari). Please ensure you install the MyChart and Zoom apps above.
This includes mobile devices such as those from Samsung, LG, HUAWEI, etc.
Video Visit Guide (Android) (.pdf)
Download from Google Play:
Please note: Video visits will not launch from your mobile browser. Please ensure you install the MyChart app and Zoom apps above.
Virtual Visit FAQs
A virtual visit is one where you and your healthcare provider do not meet at the hospital in person. By leveraging technology, virtual visits allow healthcare providers to interact with patients remotely or at a distance. WCH offers three types of virtual visits: telephone visits, video visits and secure messaging.
Just like an in-person visit, you will have an appointment with your physician or healthcare provider. Connecting via the telephone or video, your provider will have your medical record with them and will discuss your current health status with you, including any symptoms you may be experiencing, or medication needs. At the end of your appointment, your provider will discuss next steps, including booking another virtual appointment or an in-person appointment should that be needed.
A member of your care team will call you to discuss scheduling a virtual visit or converting your upcoming appointment to a virtual visit. They will discuss the option to either have a telephone or video visit with you. The type of virtual visit you have will be based on your care needs, as well as your access to technology. The team member will confirm the date and time of your appointment and will ask you to provide verbal consent to the virtual visit. They will also provide you with instructions on how to prepare for your upcoming visit.
Virtual visits appear as follows in myHealthRecord:
- WCH OFFICE F/U VISIT BY PHONE
- WCH OFFICE INI VISIT BY PHONE
- VIDEO VISIT F/U
- VIDEO VISIT INI
Our front desk staff will call you prior to your appointment to confirm your health information. Your physician or healthcare provider will then call you directly. We try our best to call at the designated time, however we do ask all patients to be available for a window of time, in case the provider is running a bit late.
During your appointment, you and your provider will discuss your current health status, answer questions you may have and discuss next steps. In advance of the call we ask all patients to have their health card ready. We also ask that they have a list of all prescription medications and/or supplements ready, as well as the phone number and fax number to their pharmacy.
Prior to your appointment, you will need ensure that you have a myHealthRecord account. If you are on a mobile device, you will need to log-in to myHealthRecord through the MyChart app by Epic Systems (Download: Apple App Store | Google Play), if you are using a desktop or laptop computer you can log-in using the myHealthRecord webpage (www.wchchart.ca).
We have detailed video visit instructions that walk you through how you can access video visits on different devices.
During your video visit, you and your provider will discuss your current health status, answer questions you may have and discuss next steps. Your provider might also share their screen with you to show you helpful diagrams or other visual aids.
WCH has been using Zoom as part of its patient virtual care strategy since December 2019. WCH wishes to assure patients and their families that we are aware of media articles and concerns expressed over the use of Zoom in providing virtual care. Similar to numerous other healthcare organizations, WCH uses a preconfigured and secured instance of Zoom that is specifically designed for healthcare. For instance, WCH’s video visit sessions use of wait rooms to manage session entry is enforced, meetings are not recorded, chat activity is not saved and all content is configured to traverse only to Canadian data centers.
Just like other online technology, virtual care tools have privacy and security risks that may result in a breach of your information. WCH continually monitors, reviews, and updates its practices to ensure the privacy and security of confidential information and that our patients enjoy a private and secure virtual care experience.
We take patient privacy very seriously and like an in-person appointment, take steps to protect your privacy during a telephone visit. Only your healthcare provider is present during your appointment where they update your health record in our protected Electronic Medical Record system.
We also encourage patients to be proactive and take measures to protect their privacy as well. This includes having your telephone visit in a secure location and being aware of who may be able to overhear your conversation.
You can decline or withdraw your consent for virtual visits at any time by contacting your care provider.