Heart disease is the second-leading cause of death in Canada. With a diagnostic rate of roughly 12 people per hour, there are over 2.4 million Canadians living with some form of heart disease across the country. Many preventative measures exist to mitigate development, however, the reality is that many Canadians will still be diagnosed with a heart condition in their lifetime, regardless of the precautions they take.
Though eliminating or curing heart disease may not currently be possible, there are still many ways to improve the well-being of those living with a heart condition. In fact, advancements in modern-day medicine have made the treatment of heart disease and related conditions easier than ever. Virtual care platforms, like aTouchAway, are now helping improve the care of heart health amongst Canadians in many ways. While plenty of benefits exist, we’ve taken the time to highlight 3 that we believe are making the biggest impact on improving heart health for Canadian patients.
Customized Care Pathways and Patient Plans
When dealing with heart health, it is important to remember that no two patients are alike. Each patient has experienced life in a different way, lives differently than one another, and has unique symptoms. The aTouchAway platform, in particular, creates individualized care pathways based on patient interaction scores. These individualized scores allow for the creation of a care pathway designed to treat a patient’s specific needs, rather than using generalized care plans that may not align with the patient.
Each customized care pathway contains clinical workflows, assessment forms, educational materials, and other resources that are specifically designed to improve the health of the respective patient. The individualized approach considers all pre-existing medical conditions and can even provide multiple care pathways depending on the condition of the patient. Most importantly, the care pathways are an evidence-based approach to patient care. By making decisions grounded by evidence, the clinician responsible for each patient will help to further customize the care pathway based on what they think will be most effective in improving the patient’s heart health.
Increased Accessibility and Observation
Virtual care as a whole is improving Canadians’ access to healthcare when and where they need it. On a broader spectrum, it allows patients across the country to utilize all types of virtual healthcare resources, regardless of their condition. Looking more specifically at heart health, virtual care has increased the accessibility and overall living conditions of patients nationwide. Reduced wait times, fewer missed appointments, quicker booking, and decreased travel time are all benefits that have notably improved the lives of patients living with some form of heart disease.
One particular woman from Gatineau who suffered a stroke in 2020 emphasized how much extra energy she had during the day due to virtual care appointments. She noted that the time and energy spent preparing for and commuting to appointments could now be spent on alternative, more productive means of improving her heart health.
Those in underserved or underprivileged communities can also receive better access to the resources and care they need to improve heart health. Take the remote town of Pelly Crossing, Yukon, for example. With a population of less than 500 and a single nursing station, most patients must commute 3 hours to Whitehorse to receive hospital-grade care. An integrated virtual care platform would instead allow patients to speak directly to a physician or monitor vitals for increasing disease activity. By reaching those that might not otherwise have access, virtual care is able to more closely monitor the heart health of these patients and improve health outcomes.
Responsive Patient Management and Proactive Assessments
The responsive monitoring and management system is another effective tool for improving heart health as it allows for a more interactive patient experience. Remote management platforms accomplish this by providing patients with reminders to monitor vitals or take medication. Relevant data related to this process is then sent directly to the clinician, as well as any other members of the patient’s care team, including specialists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, and anyone else that plays a role in improving the patient’s heart health.
Remote management systems also allow patients to play a bigger role in the triaging process of their own care. In a traditional medical setting, patients are forced to be reactive to their conditions and symptoms and typically seek medical attention at hospitals as a direct response. Remote patient management, on the other hand, allows patients to be proactive through self-assessment and live data relaying. A greater emphasis is placed on enabling patients to record symptoms so they can instead be reminded to take their medication, perform prescribed breathing exercises, or complete a variety of other actions to prevent negative outcomes.
Adapting Virtual Care To Further Improve Heart Health
Virtual care will continue to grow to become a pivotal component for the improvement of heart health amongst Canadians. Though there may never be a replacement for in-person visits, the practice of remote monitoring and management of heart conditions and heart health will continue to act as a necessary complement to improve the lives of patients. As widespread adoption rates continue to increase, so will the ability for virtual care to better improve the heart health of patients.
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