Was virtual care as safe as in-person care? analyzing patient outcomes at seven and thirty days in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic
In 2020, almost overnight, the paradigm for healthcare interactions changed in Ontario. To limit person-to-person transmission of COVID-19, the norm of in-person interactions shifted to virtual care. While this shift was part of broader public health measures and an acknowledgment of patient and societal concerns, it also represented a change in care modalities that had the potential to affect the quality of care provided, as well as short- and long-term patient outcomes. While public policy decisions were being made to moderate the use of virtual care at the end of the declared pandemic, a thorough analysis of short-term patient outcomes was needed to quantify the impact of virtual care on the population of Ontario.