New research confirms the rapid adoption of virtual care, the high degree of satisfaction with virtual visits, and overwhelming support among physicians and the public for virtual options to remain in a post-pandemic health system. This includes a report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), a study last week from Canada Health Infoway, and a Probe Research public survey commissioned by Doctors Manitoba earlier this year. 

With more than a year of experience and over three million virtual visits, doctors and patients are finding that phone and video visits can often be a safe and effective option for patient care,” said Dr. Kristjan Thompson, President of Doctors Manitoba. For many health concerns, nothing will ever replace an in person visit with your doctor, but for some issues virtual care has proven itself to be an appropriate option, improving access, quality and efficiency in medicine.” 

The key findings across this research include:

  • About 86% of physicians in Manitoba offered virtual visits during the pandemic (CIHI).
  • Strong satisfaction with virtual care, including 90% of Manitobans (Probe) and 79% of Manitoba physicians (Infoway)
  • Overwhelming support to see virtual care continue as an option after the pandemic, including 99% of Manitoba physicians (Infoway) and 90% of patients (Probe)

Doctors Manitoba and provincial government officials have been actively discussing how to continue virtual care after the pandemic is over, to maintain access to this invaluable patient care tool on a permanent basis. Dr. Thompson noted the former Minister of Health indicated she was receptive to seeing virtual care continue, and we are now raising this issue with the new Health Minister on behalf of physicians and patients.”

Virtual visits by phone or video were approved in March 2020 by the Manitoba government to help continue medical care as COVID-19 entered the province, but they were only approved for use during the pandemic. Additional types of visits were approved for virtual care as the second wave approached, following advocacy from Doctors Manitoba. Since March 2020, there have been over 3.1 million virtual visits with physicians in Manitoba. 

Please review our backgrounder for additional information about the three research studies.