Implementation and Evaluation of an Indigenous Virtual Patient Experience Tool in Response to COVID-19
In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, rapid shifts in the delivery of primary health care (PHC) services to virtual care models occurred in Canada. Insufficient access to primary health care may undermine both the capacity to prevent transmission of COVID‑19 infection, as well as effectively manage pre-existing chronic diseases. Moreover, relational factors necessary to provide high-quality PHC with Indigenous patients may be inhibited by virtual care provision. To address this gap our research team co-developed a virtual care Indigenous patient experience tool via a previous CIHR-funded project. This tool is oriented to monitoring and improving the quality of virtual PHC contacts with Indigenous patients. The next stage of this research is to evaluate and implement the tool with Indigenous health service partners. Informed by principles of implementation science, we will implement an Indigenous patient experience of virtual care tool with the Alberta Indigenous Virtual Care Clinic (AIVCC) to monitor and measure patient experience. Qualitative semi-structured interviews will be completed with patients and providers from the AIVCC to understand the acceptability and utility of the tool, and to understand barriers and facilitators to implementation. Specific implementation strategies will be determined through the completion of the interviews with additional qualitative interviews completed post-implementation to support a process evaluation. Anticipated strategies include the creation of an online infrastructure for the AIVCC to collect patient experience data and to generate a feedback report that the AIVCC can access on an ongoing basis and educational supports for clinic staff. This work will improve the ongoing virtual delivery of PHC with Indigenous patients arising from COVID‑19 by providing methods to measure the quality of the virtual care encounter.