Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s health care system has experienced a dramatic shift toward virtual care. Patients with cardiac conditions are at an increased risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19 infections, and for many, remote monitoring has been viewed as a safer form of health care delivery.
This Policy Insight summarizes key facilitators and barriers to the implementation and expansion of remote monitoring programs for patients with cardiac conditions based on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:
Technology adoption — Health care decision-makers should be aware of barriers to technology adoption, including both patient and clinician hesitation and varying levels of health and digital literacy. Developing an effective education program to train staff and patients can help overcome technological barriers to adoption.
Program adaptation — Transitioning programs to remote monitoring requires the consideration of a programs’ operational elements, such as eligibility requirements, onboarding and assessments, appointment logistics, program equipment, roles and responsibilities of clinicians and staff, health human resource planning, and data infrastructure and management.
Regulatory and legislative changes — Policies that support enhanced interprovincial licensure and reimbursement for remote monitoring services are examples of policy changes that would foster a regulatory environment conducive to remote monitoring programs.
While significant government investment has enabled the transition to virtual care (including remote monitoring), continued coordination between governments is needed to enhance the adoption of virtual care within Canadian health systems.
Further research is needed on the cost-effectiveness and clinical appropriateness of remote monitoring across cardiac conditions. This analysis can support health system decision-makers in determining when and how to apply remote monitoring services safely and effectively.