Virtual care

Virtual care

The way health care is delivered in Nova Scotia is evolving. Virtual care has the potential to increase access to health care for all Nova Scotians. 

This includes synchronous virtual care tools, from telephone to electronic medical record-integrated solutions, as well as the fee codes being used to provide safe and effective health care to Nova Scotians.


Virtual care tool kit

Doctors Nova Scotia’s virtual care toolkit, Getting Started with Virtual Care: Everything you need to know to provide synchronous virtual care, provides information to help guide physicians along the virtual care journey. It can help you select the right virtual care platform and guide you through to implementation. 

Click here to download Getting Started with Virtual Care: Everything you need to know to provide synchronous virtual care.

Your virtual care solution options

Zoom for Healthcare (“Stand-Alone”) 

The Nova Scotia government has secured an agreement with Zoom, a company specializing in videoconferencing, to license any physician in Nova Scotia (as well as a member of their staff) to use Zoom for Healthcare at no charge for a one-year period.

Zoom for Healthcare: 

  • Delivers consistent, reliable, clinical experiences through reliable videoconferencing services
  • Provides high quality video and audio
  • Uses resources and hardware that physicians most likely already have in their practices
  • Uses straightforward user management processes
  • Meets Nova Scotia privacy and security standards 

Click here to register for Zoom for Healthcare.

QHR Medeo (“stand-alone” or integrated with AccuroEMR)

Medeo is a solution that offers secure video visits, as well as online booking and secure patient messaging. It is available as a stand-alone product or it can be integrated with the QHR Accuro electronic medical record (EMR). Medeo is available for six months at no charge to Nova Scotia physicians.

It takes one to two weeks to be onboarded to Medeo. If you wish to be included in the queue, click here to complete the two-step online process.

For product information, pricing and availability information, click here or contact david.krish@QHRtech.com.

Facetime, Skype or other “stand-alone” options

If you are using another stand-alone synchronous virtual care product, such as Skype or Facetime, it’s recommended that you transition to Zoom for Healthcare or Medeo. Both solutions are compliant with the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) in Nova Scotia.

TELUS EMR Virtual Visit (new) (Integrated with Med Access EMR)

The Telus Virtual Visit product is an encrypted, Med Access-integrated solution that enables seamless workflow, minimizes task redundancy and preserves continuity of care and documentation within your existing Med Access EMR. Conduct video calls, review patient records and take notes simultaneously.

This product is available free for the first four months when you sign up before May 31, 2020.

Click here to sign up.

Health Myself (integrated with Med Access EMR)

This product provides a convenient and Med Access EMR-integrated solution for patients and providers to engage virtually through video consults. It also allows asynchronous provider-to-patient messaging, online booking and automated appointment reminders. The video consult capability is undergoing final testing with physicians in Nova Scotia. This video consult feature will be available for free for four months to all new and existing Health Myself portal customers who sign up before May 31, 2020.

New Health Myself customers can sign up here.

Existing Health Myself customers can sign up here.

For product information, pricing and availability for Telus and Health Myself, contact Paul Cosgrove paul.cosgrove@telus.com or Steven Gower steven.gower@telus.com.

Virtual care fee codes

Most physicians can bill for all non-procedural services that are delivered virtually. You can bill what you normally would for an in-person visit, regardless of whether the care you deliver is done in-person or via the telephone, telehealth or any virtual care tool listed above. Simply include the following text on your claim to denote the mode of synchronous care delivery:

  • If service was provided via phone call, use “Pandemic telephone”
  • If service was provided over the telehealth network, use “Pandemic telehealth”
  • If service was provided over a virtual care platform, use “Pandemic virtual care”

The fee codes for opioid agonist therapy, psychotherapy, consultations and counselling, geriatric and nursing home visits are all covered by virtual care.

Walk-in clinics that are not formally associated with the Nova Scotia Health Authority are not eligible for virtual care fee codes.

Details can be found in the March 24 MSI Physicians’ Bulletin.

All premium fees are also applicable. This is not stated directly in the MSI Physicians’ Bulletin, but Doctors Nova Scotia has assurances from the Department of Health and Wellness that premiums do apply.

A new health service code (03.03X) is also available to facilitate the provision of synchronous clinical care using technology that supports non-face-to-face encounters, such as care delivered using the telephone, the hospital-based telehealth network, Zoom for Healthcare, and other PHIA-compliant virtual care tools. This code is paid at the same rate as ME=CARE modifier for comprehensive primary care fee codes.

For physicians for whom the 03.03x code is more remunerative than the applicable in-person fee code, you can bill the 03.03x consistent with the terms as outlined in the March 18, 2020 MSI Physicians’ Bulletin.

Virtual care playbook

In March 2020, the Canadian Medical Association, in collaboration with the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada published Virtual Care Playbook to help Canadian physicians introduce virtual patient encounters (aka telemedicine) into their daily practices.

While not exhaustive, the playbook covers all key considerations to succeed at providing safe, effective and efficient care:

  • Fitting virtual care into your practice workflow
  • Technology requirements
  • Scope of practice – what problems can be safely assessed and treated
  • “Webside” manner
  • The virtual visit from beginning to end

Click here to download Virtual Care Playbook

Contact

Brent Andrews
E-health advisor
902-225-8577 (cell)
Stewart Gray
Senior E-health strategist
902-481-4909
1-800-563-3427 ext. 4909