What Is the OTN Virtual Care?

Posted on September 20, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge of interest in telemedicine in Canada. Telemedicine lets you consult your doctor from the comfort of your home. No need to worry about driving to the doctor's office, finding parking, taking time off work, and finding childcare.

OTN is one rapidly growing platform for telemedicine. Find out more about OTN and the virtual care you can take advantage of.

When Was OTN Established?

The Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) was established in 2006. OTN has been part of Ontario Health since 2020. Ontario Health is the government agency responsible for ensuring that all Ontarians get high-quality health care when and where they need it.

OTN is an independent, non-profit organization with funding from the government of Ontario.

OTN isn't a health care provider. Instead, they're a service that facilitates your access to your doctor and other health care providers.

Who Can Use OTN?

You have access to the OTN network through your family doctor or other health care provider. You can consult doctors and specialists no matter where you live in Ontario.

Many people can benefit from telemedicine. Improved technology has made accessing these services much easier. Even if you don't consider yourself "tech-savvy," you can take advantage of the benefits of telemedicine.

Stay in the Comfort of Your Home

Using an OTN online doctor means you don't have to drive or find transportation to your health care provider's office. You don't need to look for parking and walk into the clinic. You may not even need to miss work or arrange for child care.

When you're sick or injured, being able to stay in the comfort of your own home makes getting health care easier.

Skip the Waiting Rooms

An online doctor visit means you can skip the waiting room. This is especially important if you're chronically ill, pregnant, elderly, or immunocompromised. You have less risk of exposure to people who may be ill.

When you're sick or injured, being able to stay in the comfort of your own home makes getting health care easier.

How Much Does OTN Cost?

Ontario Telemedicine Network services are free for patients through your health care provider. OTN doesn't ask for your credit card information. They won't ask for any other type of payment either.

Are There Membership Fees?

No. OTN doesn't charge a membership fee for patients to use their health resources.

Your physician, health care provider, or health care organization pays an annual subscription fee if they receive less than 50% funding from MOHLTC, an LHIN, or OHIP. The services are free for patients to use.

OTN Hub Login

Patients don't need an OTN log in to access services. To consult your doctor online, you'll receive an email with a link to join the virtual visit. Other services are available freely online or over the phone.

OTN virtual care services

What Types of Services Does OTN Provide?

Ontario Telemedicine Network provides a range of team-managed and self-managed virtual care services. You and your doctor have many options for your care.

See Your Doctor Virtually (eVisit)

An eVisit gives you more access to family doctors, specialists, and other health care providers. You can get virtual care from home on your own device or from a health care centre near you.

An eVisit gives you the quality care you expect. It's safe and private through the secure OTN network. You can invite family members or other caregivers to join the eVisit even if they live far away from you.

Indigenous and French Language Services

You can connect with a culturally sensitive health care provider through the OTN network. OTN partners with organizations like local health centres, Aboriginal Health Access Centres, and Métis Nation Wellness Centres. OHIP covers these services.

If you're French-speaking, you can access health services in your preferred language. Culturally-relevant and language sensitive care can improve your health outcomes

Manage Chronic Conditions

OTN can help you manage chronic conditions like COPD, heart failure, and diabetes. Telehomecare is a six-month health coaching and remote monitoring program to help you live as healthy a life as possible with COPD or heart failure. Patients who complete the program reduce their emergency room visits and hospital admissions by more than half.

If you have diabetes, you can get a retinal eye screening through teleophthalmology. Retinal screening with an OTN online doctor means you don't have to travel to get a specialist's evaluation.

Expand Your Medical Team

The eConsult program lets your doctor consult with specialists across Ontario for advice on your care. Your health care provider can get input more quickly. You may not need to travel to visit a specialist.

Virtual Palliative Care

Virtual palliative care provides the ongoing support you need in your home. You avoid unnecessary travel and visits to medical facilities.

What About OTN for Mental Health?

OTN provides mental health resources through its partners. Services range from 24/7 online community support to referral-based clinical support.

The OTN network also provides support for people suffering from problem gambling.

OTN Growth During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the advantages of telemedicine. Canadians increasingly chose to ask a doctor online in 2020. The Ontario Telemedicine Network saw the number of virtual care appointments double in the 2020-2021 fiscal year compared to the year before.

Between March and July 2020, the total number of virtual visits in Ontario increased by 56%. Almost 70% of Canadians say they plan to continue using telemedicine after the pandemic. OTN will likely continue to grow as more and more Ontarians experience the convenience and quality of a telemedicine network.

Using Virtual Care in Canada

Telemedicine in Canada is growing rapidly. The Ontario Telemedicine Network offers many Ontarians the opportunity to benefit from virtual care. You can see your doctor or a specialist from the comfort of your home.

OTN is free for patients to use, which makes it even easier to find out if telemedicine is right for you.

When you have questions about health topics ranging from insurance to finding an online doctor in Canada, Insurdinary has the answers. Check out our latest articles for more useful guides, tips, and advice.

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