Using virtual care to reach our patients

Susan Moffatt-Bruce
February 11, 2020 | Author: Dr. Susan Moffatt-Bruce

According to a newly released report, there is overwhelming support by Canadian physicians to optimize access to, and the implementation of, virtual care in Canada.

Read the Virtual Care Task Force Report

This report is the outcome of a Virtual Care Task Force that was co-sponsored by the Royal College, the Canadian Medical Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. It details strategies and recommendations to promote a pan-Canadian approach to the delivery of publicly insured medical services by the Canadian medical community through virtual means.

It is an important contribution to an even more important conversation.

I am pleased to be back in Canada where I grew up and have strong roots. My father is a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer and my mother was a registered nurse. I have lived on Canada’s east coast, west coast and in between. I have also lived and studied in England and in the United States. And in every place I have lived, there is one common health care issue that policy-makers and researchers grapple with: access to care, especially care from specialists.

Meet Dr. Susan Moffatt-Bruce, the Royal College’s new CEO

In addition to being a cardiothoracic surgeon and Royal College Fellow, I am also a health-outcomes researcher. I am very interested in understanding how to improve systems, in order to impact care for patients, and truly leveraging health care systems through continuous improvement.

In the midst of our current digital transformation, I think every specialist is thinking, not only of the potential impact of technology on our jobs, but of how we can use virtual care to better connect with each other and our patients.

Imagine if we could save patients from travelling two hours for a 10 minute appointment? Or easily connect rural physicians with specialists in other parts of the country?

Technology can make this possible but unless we start developing and applying it in a deliberate, equitable and cohesive way, gaps in access to care and continuity of care are going to widen and diverge.

I am very proud of the Royal College’s involvement and contributions to this Virtual Care Task Force Report. It has now been a little over a month since I became CEO. In the past five weeks, I have learned a great deal. I am proud to be a Fellow and we will work together to improve processes and align strategic initiatives.

In addition to the administrative onboarding, I have been impressed with the dedication, creativity and loyalty of Royal College staff, Fellows, volunteers and partners. Thank you for your commitment to Canada’s specialty health care system. Thank you for being part of these important conversations.

Together, we are reimagining care.

Please keep in touch

Leave a comment on my blog, email me at or follow me on Twitter @smoffattbruce1

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Avatar Clarence Guenter | February 11, 2020
Hi Susan, Congratulations and welcome to this important position! As a retired Fellow, and Professor Emeritus I applaud your emphasis on virtual care as well as outcomes. As a member of the broader community of health care consumers, permit me to suggest one other major focus that is commonly lacking: appropriateness and effectiveness. Outcomes research does not always include appropriateness. (Consider the most recent literature on resuscitation in the elderly.) Several years ago I published a small booklet intended for consumers: Ultimate Health, Finding It. It encourages us all to ask more questions before hastening to intervention. If you have interest I would happily send you a copy and it is available as an ebook through Amazon or Friesen Press. Wishing you a very successful and rewarding career in this new leadership role.
Avatar Orison. Alistair Thores | February 11, 2020
While I agree with the objectives you outline, particularly in view of my experience as a director of public health and clinician in BC and Ontario years ago and appreciate technology is making things we only dreamed of then possible, considerable caution will be needed to avoid abuses, in particular to safeguard confidentiality. It is pertinent that only California has recently passed a state law providing individuals may opt out of data sharing of personal data and only Florida so far to prohibit the passing on of genetic information derived from dna and other tests. In the latter case it had emerged test results provided commercially for family history enquiries had been sold on to insurers without knowledge and agreement to allow them to adjust premiums for the individuals. Regards
Avatar Greg Berry | February 11, 2020
Welcome. I have been using teleconsultation to serve the Inuit population in the north f Quebec for the last 3 years. It is a tool that has worked well (albeit with some snafus) and that I look forward to implementing for local patients in the near future. I applaud you for embracing this technology which has enormous potential for improving the access and ease of care we should be providing. Regards, G
Avatar Bernice Capusten | February 11, 2020
Congratulations! And good news for us. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you. Bernice Capusten Red Deer, Alberta
Avatar Mateen Raazi | February 11, 2020
Hello Dr. Moffat-Bruce, First, welcome to your new role. Thanks for making Virutal Care part of your first RCPSC message. Given the geography and the population distribution in Saskatchewan as well as the single Saskatchewan Health Authority foundation transformation in our province, Virtual Care is an even more significant tool for us. I look froward to working and interacting with you in my ACUDA and RCPSC Specialty Committee work. Be well Mateen Raazi Dr. Mateen Raazi Provincial Head Anesthesiology University of Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Health Authority
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