Background – Pathways Virtual Care Directory
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way that family doctors work.
Most family doctors in BC are now using phone or video to provide care to their patients. If you need a prescription refill or have any medical concerns, your own doctor can connect with you to meet your needs.
If you have a family doctor, it is safest to get all your care from them, including refills. The medical evidence is clear that outcomes are better when patients get care from the doctor who knows them best and has their records. (refs 1, 2)
For patients who don’t have a doctor, the Pathways BC Virtual Care Directory points the way to getting care that is connected to your community.
Across BC, family doctors have come together to help connect patients who don’t have family doctors with a doctor where possible, or to access care when they need it from an online clinic that works with family doctors in your community.
Family doctors are here for you and have time to connect with you.
If you want detailed information about how your doctor’s office is providing virtual care, check this directory. If you don’t have a doctor, search by city to find out the best way to access virtual care or to get connected to a regular family doctor in your area.
The Pathways BC Virtual Care Directory is a tool to support doctor-patient relationships. It improves health outcomes when patients receive care from their own doctors.
FAQ’s – Pathways BC Virtual Care Directory
What is the Pathways BC Virtual Care Directory?
It’s a new province-wide public directory that helps people connect to care. It includes individual family doctor listings with information about their virtual care options plus which doctors are accepting new patients, and information about new virtual care clinics for patients who don’t have family doctors.
What is Pathways?
Pathways is an online website created by family doctors and their staff to share information among professionals about specialists, referrals, community services and useful patient resources. In response to COVID-19, the medical community is expanding the public side of the website to provide information about accessing family doctors virtually, connecting to virtual care clinics, and downloadable resources on various topics including COVID-19.
How is Pathways funded?
Pathways is a registered non-profit organization that grew out of the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice. It is funded by the General Practice Services Committee which is a partnership between Doctors of BC and the Ministry of Health.
Do patients have to pay for virtual care?
No. Virtual appointments are covered by the BC Medical Services Plan.
What if I need to see my doctor in person?
First, call your doctor’s office or book online for a phone or video appointment. Your doctor will determine whether an in-person visit is needed, and the office staff will arrange to do that safely.
If your doctor determines that you need an in-person visit, that will be arranged and will take place in a way that maximizes the safety of both you and your doctor.
Why isn’t my doctor listed in the Pathways BC Virtual Care Directory?
The Pathways team is working with the Divisions of Family Practice across British Columbia to gather information on family doctors in communities across the province. Updates will continue as new information is received.
What if I don’t have a family doctor?
The new Pathways BC Virtual Care Directory includes listings of doctors who are accepting new patients and options for setting up a virtual care appointment
Across British Columbia, community-based physicians are figuring out how best to provide care to patients without family doctors. Many communities have set up new virtual care clinics. These clinics are supported by teams of local doctors and will help people to establish a relationship with a family doctor. Each community has defined a solution for providing virtual care to all patients in their community. Search the directory to learn what solution your community has developed.