Saskatchewan residents are doing their part at this time to remain isolated as a public health measure to help flatten the curve. While half of our province is used to living in rural settings, these measures are also causing a vast majority of urban citizens to experience barriers to care. As a Saskatchewan physician, you may already be noticing a drop in your physical clinical practice numbers as frequent cancellations and telephone calls are replacing in-person visits.
The Medical Services Branch has recognized this, and thanks to advocacy efforts by multiple groups, including the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), new fee codes are being introduced to allow physicians to be remunerated for different ways to practice. Two recent fee codes allow for telephone (510A) and video call (515A) consultations with Saskatchewan residents (please visit links for more detail).
Why virtual care?
The answer may seem obvious, but there are several reasons why video virtual care is a practice option:
- CoVID-19 applications – 80% of patients who are affected only need at home recovery, with DAILY monitoring
- Protects you and the patient via social distancing; reinforces the importance of this
- Allows you to visually screen and assess in real time; can continue standards of practice in an expedited way
- Relieve burden on other triage systems, such as 811, walk-in clinics and emergency rooms
- Routine visits for chronic care and low acuity case management can still take place
- Prescription renewals can be facilitated through e-fax; most pharmacies can also deliver for self-isolating patients
- Patients can provide you updated medication lists; via uploading attachments
- Dermatologic concerns can be assessed with high definition cameras; many mobile devices have incredible photo quality
How do I practice virtually?
Remember, CMPA practice standards still apply. Maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality is of importance; be sure you are not in a public setting—use a headset with microphone when possible. For billing purposes, need to verify patient’s valid Saskatchewan Health Services Number (HSN). Consent to care; it is important to verify and document patient’s comprehension and agreement to your diagnosis, care plan and required follow up. Declare your title & license; clear communication is key and CMPA standards can continue to be met via video and chat care assessments. Record notes: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and follow up plan. CMPA states that you can treat non-residents for emergent care.
What do I use?
Most web platform video streaming services are secure to use for patient care. Needs to be easy for patient to download and use. Many provinces are opening the floor for many video streaming options in order to improve access at this time. However, these popular systems, like Zoom are being overloaded and are failing.
Lumeca is built for this
We have spent years to build a platform that is PIPEDA compliant, allows for notifications, asynchronous, time stamped and live communication with patients.
Along with video capability, Lumeca Health has charting and independent password protected user accounts functionality.
Free and simple access by patient and practitioner alike is available via web browsers (Safari, FireFox, Google Chrome, etc) and mobile download (via Google Play and Apple App Store). This allows Lumeca to be with you anywhere you wish to practice; office, home, etc.
We help take care of billing, patient follow-up and other referral patient care pathways to maintain a continuum of care. Our independent IT and business team are available for Privacy and Security management. We have a streamlined physician training and onboarding process that can be completed in a couple of hours and meets all PIPEDA standards for training on protection of personal health information.
We wish to support you as we all are doing our part to flatten the curve and protect our limited healthcare system resources. Please consider Lumeca Health when looking to expedite your care for Saskatchewan residents.
For more virtual care and COVID-19 practice related questions, please visit SMA’s resources page.
Should you need help getting started quickly, please reach out and we will be happy to introduce you to Saskatchewan’s only local virtual care company.