Cisco Canada and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health teaching hospital, announced this week the successful expansion of virtual care to meet the demand for mental health services in Ontario.

In March, CAMH  deployed Cisco’s Webex technology across the organization, enabling the training of upwards of 400 CAMH clinicians, up from 50 in February, the organization explained in a statement.

“Mental health care looks fundamentally different today than it did three months ago, and yet at its core, we continue to strive for compassionate, quality care. We have made incredible strides in our ability to deliver virtual care, accelerating our digital transformation and enhancing our ability to provide care to more patients in more communities,” said Dr. Allison Crawford, CAMH, in a press release. “Through innovation and technology, we have an opportunity to reimagine and rebuild a broader system of virtual care that is safe, secure, flexible and accessible.”

Through this partnership with Cisco, CAMH says it has been able to increase the number of virtual visits it can offer to patients during the ongoing pandemic. Last year the healthcare provider delivered virtual care to over 3,000 patients from over 550 communities across Ontario. From March to April alone, virtual care visits rose from 350 to 3,000 per month, a 750 per cent increase. Webex enabled 1,500 of those additional virtual visits over the course of April, Cisco noted.

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“While we are apart right now, no one is alone and technology is helping to keep populations and patients connected during this difficult time. This is a pivotal moment for a new frontier of telemental health care in Canada – CAMH is reshaping how we deliver care now and into the future,” said Dr. Catherine Zahn, president and chief executive officer of CAMH. “There is no going back. The adoption of virtual health platforms will be a permanent and growing fixture of the healthcare system, and be offered as an accessible, flexible and secure mental health care option for patient care going forward.”

This virtual mental health service provides patients with more flexibility scheduling appointments and follow-ups, shorter wait times, effective communication with clinicians and the ability to receive care securely no matter where they live.

Over a two-year partnership, Cisco Canada has contributed nearly $2 million in technology, funding and services to support CAMH research, develop and build new models of care.

The federal government is also working to ensure that Canadians have access to the tools and resources they need to support their health and well-being. The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced over the weekend an investment of $240.5 million to develop, expand, and launch virtual care and mental health tools to support Canadians.

 

 

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