eVisit patient portal pilot

We are excited to announce our participation in the eVisit Patient portal pilot! This is a collaboration between us and the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), with funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC).

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The most important information to know…

is here. This page just goes into the project in more detail, for those who are curious!


What is this?

Put simply, it’s a pilot project being run by the Ontario government to help patients access care from their family doctor remotely.

Quoting from the project documentation:

…The project is called eVisit Primary Care. eVisit enables you to request a non-emergency health visit with your primary care provider through a secure online platform using secure: messaging, audio or video … The platform, provided by Novari Health, is safe and secure and your personal health information is protected.

…The web-based platform extends your options for accessing health care. There is no cost to participate and all visit details will be included in your doctor’s medical record.

To participate, you need a computer or smartphone with a camera and microphone, a strong internet connection, and preferably a location that offers some privacy. You can still use the secure messaging if your device isn’t equipped with a camera and/or microphone.

eVisits is appropriate for non-emergency new medical questions, test follow-ups, and some chronic disease management…

eVisits is not appropriate for emergencies or more complex needs. In the case of an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital.

Who’s involved in this pilot?

TC-LHIN
OTN
Novari Health

The TC-LHIN is an Ontario government agency “responsible for planning, funding and integrating and delivering home care services to citizens across the city, with our service providers to meet the needs of 1.2 million residents and tens of thousands of others who come to Toronto for care.”

OTN is a “not-for-profit organization funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care charged with building a sustainable and responsive virtual care system.”

Novari Health is the software vendor that has been contracted by OTN to build and develop the eVisit portal pilot.  

It says eVISIT, but you’re talking about replacing e-mails.  I’m confused!

Don’t get us started, we find the terminology confusing too.

For the purpose of the pilot, an “eVisit” includes video conference, phone calls, as well as secure messaging.  The secure message features looks and feels like phone based text messaging. You can initiate the “eVisit” then send a message at any time.

Just like e-mails, depending on volume, it may take 2-3 business days for a response.   

Should a phone call or video conference be necessary, your physician will send you a separate appointment invitation.  

Is this secure?

In short, yes, it should be.

Enough government agencies are involved that privacy and security has been examined in much detail: “Your personal health information is protected according to the requirements of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004. For more information, visit www.otn.ca/about-us/privacy.”

This is a pilot.  Will there be problems to work through because it’s a pilot?

Yes, there will be problems, workflow issues, and technical hiccups. However, we think on balance it’s worth working through the problems because of the benefits of the portal.  We are confident that we can work through the problems!  

You said pilot.  If this is great, how long will this last?

Funding has been secured through 2019.  If it works well, we are hopeful that funding will be extended beyond that.  

Why are you experimenting with moving away from e-mail?  E-mail is so convenient!

We use e-mail despite certain key security and privacy shortcomings.

In the absence of a good solution, we think using e-mail is on balance preferable, but we do need to eventually transition to a more reliable and secure solution at some point in order to ensure long-term compliance with our legal and regulatory requirements.

Physicians in other provinces and countries already use similar systems, and it’s typically well received. It’s important to us at Magenta Health to continue to learn and explore new options, in order to provide better patient care, safely and securely.  

Finally, this pilot project is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.  It’s one of the first times that primary care physicians are being compensated for providing virtual care.  E-mails and phone calls up until now have not been services for which your physician has been compensated.

I don’t feel comfortable using this portal, I prefer to continue with e-mail.  

It’s important for our practice to experiment and adapt to new ways of health delivery.  As discussed in our communications policy and during your intake visit, it was always our intention to migrate away from e-mail when a better alternative was available.