Tips on Going Virtual

Virtual Patient Care

In the COVID-19 era, much of ambulatory care is now being delivered virtually. Although we are slowly ramping up in-patient visits, you will find that a majority of your ambulatory clinics (i.e., AACU not included) have been converted to virtual (video or telephone) visits.

There are many logistics to consider when providing virtual care — faxing prescriptions directly, obtaining bloodwork, deciding when you need an in-person assessment or exam, etc. Although this might be initially daunting, you will learn many valuable and professional skills and will become more comfortable with virtual care with just a little practice! Having now done this for several months, your attendings and clinic staff are very comfortable with the virtual workflow and are always happy to help!

  • You will receive a rotation-specific orientation including instructions on how to function with virtual care
  • Sit down with your staff to walk through a patient encounter and see how they like to run things. This might include:
    • When/how to videoconference or phone the patient
    • How to chart review / which Epic dotphrases to use
    • How to obtain consent for virtual care (and how to document this)
    • How to chart during the encounter
    • How to review the consult with your staff — in person or over the phone
    • How to close the encounter with the patient — through a three-way conversation with your staff or staff doing the wrap-up themselves
    • How to complete post-encounter tasks including bloodwork requisitions, prescription faxing, follow up appointment booking. etc.
    • How to get an EPA completed (if this is a requirement for your training)

Virtual Teaching

You will attend a mix of virtual and in-person teaching (largely the former) depending on the type of session (small-group vs. large group, subspecialty vs. core, etc.). Here are a few tips on getting the most out of virtual teaching:

  • Most virtual teaching happens over Zoom, with a minority taking place on Microsoft Teams. Check your email and our online teaching schedule for up-to-date links and passwords.
  • If possible, try to have your webcam on! It is very challenging teaching to empty boxes on the screen, and being able to see faces makes a huge difference to the person teaching. All clinic rooms are equipped with webcam-enabled computers, and/or you can join on your cellphone.
    • If you don’t have access to video-enabled devices, please let your CMR know and I can work on this for you.
    • If you don’t want your background visible (totally understandable!), the Zoom virtual background is a great way to have only your face visible
  • Put yourself on mute if you’re not speaking. Pro tip: You can keep yourself muted and press the spacebar to unmute when you need to speak!
  • Almost all our teaching is interactive, so please jump in! Your session facilitators may ask you to unmute and speak, or use the chat function, or use the ‘Raise Hand’ function.
  • Keep in mind that your session facilitator may have a hard time seeing the chatbox or a raised hand if they are screensharing or presenting. If you notice that you or your colleagues have a question that hasn’t been attended to, unmute yourselves and chime in!