What is Virtual Care and how can it help me?

Virtual care is a visit between a patient and a primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner) that does not occur in the doctor’s office. In many ways it is just like a regular appointment, but it uses a phone call, computer or tablet to connect a patient to a primary care provider. There is no cost to have a virtual care appointment as long as you have a valid PEI Health Card. Not all clinical service areas are able to offer virtual care at this time.

What care can be provided virtually?

The PEI physicians associated with the programs can assess and treat many of the issues and conditions they would be able to treat in a physical clinic setting. A virtual care provider can digitally write prescriptions (with the exception of narcotics) that can be faxed directly to your preferred pharmacy as well as issue lab and imaging requisitions. Specialist referrals can be completed at the discretion of the physician.

Not all care is appropriate to do by messaging, audio or video chat. If your virtual care provider reviews your symptoms and feels you need an in-person consult or emergency care, they will recommend you visit a walk-in clinic or emergency department.  

Some of the most common conditions successfully treated through virtual care include:

  • Cold and flu
  • Eye and ear infections
  • Minor allergic reactions
  • Minor injuries
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sexual health issues
  • Mental health issues

If you wish, a family member or friend may also join you at your location to be part of your appointment.

What are the benefits?

  • Appointment can occur at home or in the location chosen by the patient
  • There are no concerns about not being able to socially distance during COVID-19
  • There is no need to arrange a drive or take time off work to attend the visit in-person

How can I request virtual care?

If you currently have a primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner):

  • Have a talk with your primary care provider to see if virtual care is an option, not all clinical service areas are able to offer virtual care at this time.
    • If it is, decide on the best method to use for the visit.
  • Share the details necessary to be able to arrange the visit. This could be an email address or telephone number.
  • The appointment will be set-up and you will be notified by telephone (if this is the method chosen) or email.
  • In the email there will be instructions that need to be followed to complete the visit. Zoom is the name of the product doctor’s offices are currently using to complete visits on the computer.

If you do not have a Primary Care Provider:

  • Prince Edward Island is supporting those who do not have a family doctor by using a virtual care product called Maple
  • This service is currently free (until further notice)
  • If you do not have a primary care provider and are able to use Maple, you would have received an email or letter inviting you to use the service. 
Published date: 
June 23, 2022
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