Skip to main content

N.B. virtual care report worrying for senior advocates

The introduction of virtual care in New Brunswick has shown to be helpful for much of the province, but a snapshot into the use of virtual care shows mixed reactions.

"The introduction of virtual care really simplified their life,” said Stephane Robichaud, CEO of NB Health Council.

“In the sense that their provider was using virtual care to eliminate the need for some visits, when it could be done by phone or by video even via chat or text,” Robichaud said.

New Brunswick Health Council released a report on virtual health care, which included options such as e-visit NB and Tele-care 811. Despite making care a simpler process for some, other had issues with it.

"Some people have an aversion to technology,” Robichaud said.

“As well, particularly when you're talking about the use of chat or video, people who don't have the proper bandwidth or connection or are not comfortable with the technology.”

A seniors advocate is concerned that the access to virtual care will lessen opportunities for seniors who would rather see a primary care physician in person.

"Some of them can adapt to it, especially those in rural areas, and some can't,” said Cecile Cassista, with the Coalition for Seniors.

“I really don't think we should be advocating for more virtual care we should be advocating for more primary care.”

The report surveyed people in the seven health regions of the province.

"The hope is that with lessons learned from this experience it can help guide future decisions as to how we evolve with our virtual care,” Robichaud said.

CTV reached out to the minister of health for comment, but was told he was unavailable.

"When you're meeting face-to-face with your physician there are things that could come up,” Cassista said.

“He or she could just tell by looking in your eyes that there is something obviously wrong,” she added.

Cassista says she fears virtual care will mean less care for seniors as they try to navigate the ever-changing field of healthcare.

For the latest New Brunswick news, visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

Stay Connected