This year’s COVID-19 pandemic imposed an unprecedented pivot in the way care was delivered, requiring health system delivery partners to work closer than ever before to enable tools that support clinicians in the provision of care as well as respond to the pandemic itself.
Rapidly changing conditions required rapid responses from our health care system and a tremendous shift by Ontario’s clinicians and their patients. The adoption of virtual care tools by clinicians and patients increased dramatically in 2020-21 after slow growth in the preceding decade.
Virtual care use went from just 0.2% of total ambulatory visits in 2012 to 1.8% by the end of 2019. At the beginning of the pandemic, virtual visits increased rapidly, reaching 70% of ambulatory visits during the second quarter of 2020 —an increase of over 3000%. This has been a huge transition from in-person visits to delivering care by phone, email, and videoconferencing. OntarioMD, known as OMD to clinician users of digital health, stepped up to the challenge of supporting clinicians in this latest evolution of practice.
The pandemic accentuated the need for an integrated health system to realize more effective and efficient provision of care. OMD performs a critical role in reaching this vision in the digital health landscape.
Supporting clinicians with their use of virtual care and meeting the increased demand for OMD’s digital health products and services were developments OMD did not anticipate at the beginning of 2020. However, OMD stepped up quickly to offer virtual support and education to clinicians and their staff and quickly onboard them to the digital health tools they needed and wanted.
These additional activities for OMD were of course in addition to its commitments to government in its annual Transfer Payment Agreement. OMD ensured that all deliverables in the Agreement moved forward as planned with existing resources. This was a remarkable feat demonstrating OMD’s nimbleness and willingness to take on extra work for clinicians, patients and the public good.
We would like to share some highlights from the past year, demonstrating how OMD has made a positive impact on clinician practices by delivering value to clinicians through digital health services, virtual care support and much more.
For the first time, we present our first entirely digital Annual Report. Enjoy a virtual walk through OMD’s remarkable year.