Virtual Care Available to More Patients
All Nova Scotians on the Need a Family Practice Registry can now get free, online medical appointments through Virtual Care Nova Scotia (VirtualCareNS).
Previously, people had to receive an email invitation to use VirtualCareNS. As of today, August 31, anyone on the Need a Family Practice registry can sign up for the service. The program enables people on the registry to have online appointments with a family doctor or nurse practitioner, until they can be served by a practice in their community.
“We want Nova Scotians to be able to access care when and where they need it. As we continue to recruit more healthcare workers and find innovative healthcare solutions, we are pleased that all Nova Scotians on the registry will be able to use VirtualCareNS,” said Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness. “VirtualCareNS is free, effective, and a convenient way for Nova Scotians get medical care.”
The service launched as a pilot in May 2021. Since then, more than 21,000 virtual appointments have taken place. Nova Scotians have received care and advice for mental health concerns, prescription renewals, skin problems, infections, minor injuries, joint pain and other issues.
Patients whose health concerns cannot be resolved virtually will be provided with options for in-person care.
There are about 150 to 200 virtual appointments available each weekday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and on Monday evenings until 7 p.m.
To use VirtualCareNS, people must live in Nova Scotia, be without a primary care provider and be on the Need a Family Practice Registry. To get on the registry, people should call 811 or visit: https://needafamilypractice.nshealth.ca/
Once on the registry, people can visit https://virtualcarens.ca and use their Nova Scotia health card to get a virtual appointment.
VirtualCareNS is a readily available option for people who don’t have a regular family doctor or nurse practitioner to access the care they need. The unique design of this program, combining virtual care with an in-person followup option if needed, has garnered national and international attention as a leading practice. We are learning every day about the impact VirtualCareNS is having for patients through their feedback, which has been overwhelmingly positive.
Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice-President, Research, Innovation and Discovery, and Chief Nurse Executive, Nova Scotia Health
We’re proud of the tremendous impact this initiative has made, while maintaining strong patient satisfaction rates, and we’re excited to continue supporting VirtualCareNS as it provides much needed primary care access to thousands of Nova Scotians without a family doctor.
Dr. Brett Belchetz, CEO and Co-founder of Maple, the platform contracted by Nova Scotia Health to deliver VirtualCareNS
- VirtualCareNS is delivered using Maple, one of Canada’s leading virtual-care platforms, by doctors and nurse practitioners licensed and located in Nova Scotia
- Nova Scotians who use VirtualCareNS get an appointment with a Nova Scotian doctor or nurse practitioner, who is paid by the healthcare system
- there are 61 primary care providers delivering care through VirtualCareNS (54 family doctors and seven nurse practitioners); more providers are being recruited
- the expansion of VirtualCareNS to people on the Need a Family Practice Registry is part of the government’s Action for Health strategic plan
Need a Family Practice Registry: https://needafamilypractice.nshealth.ca/
Action for Health, the government's strategic plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia: https://novascotia.ca/actionforhealth/