Digital Health Week: Spotlight on the importance of eVisits and telemedicine

Dr. Ramana Appireddy from the Department of Medicine has a research program in virtualHeadshot of Dr. Ramana Appireddy care that explores multiple aspects of virtual care. “My work in this area involves use of telemedicine and electronic consultations for patient care,” he says.

Dr. Appireddy hopes his research will add to the body of literature including better understanding of virtual care access, barriers to accessing virtual care, and effectiveness of virtual care. “I hope my research in this area helps identify knowledge gaps in the field. Virtual care is very new as a model of health care delivery. There is so much for everyone – physicians, patients, policy makers, etc. – to learn about it,” he says. “My team and I are working with patient partners to better understand the patient experience of care including any perceived barriers. We are also working on some innovative ways to test the utility of using telemedicine/virtual care in different clinical settings.”

For Dr. Appireddy, virtual care has the potential to address some of the challenges facing healthcare delivery. “There has been a significant shift in trying to align healthcare delivery in various settings to be more patient-centred. Virtual care is hugely patient- and family-centred. Virtual care can also address other challenges like improving access to timely, quality healthcare.”

Specifically, Dr. Appireddy says there are several benefits to telemedicine and eVisits, including “the significant convenience for patients and families to access healthcare, potential for improved efficiency of the healthcare system and increased access to timely quality care.”

What Dr. Appireddy wants physicians to know about digital health care is that it is here to say. “It is time to embrace virtual care and think about how patients, healthcare providers and healthcare organizations can adapt to optimally deliver care virtually. There is a need for multiple stakeholders to come together from innovation, quality improvement, research, education, information technology, healthcare policy to ensure that we build sustainable systems that will provide safe, effective and high quality care.”