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Virtual Care Equity Matrix: No One Is Left Behind (2021)

Posted on:
November 14, 2021

The Virtual Care Equity Matrix outlines key equity issues that must be addressed in the delivery of virtual care. It highlights the conditions necessary for everyone to access high quality, timely, equitable, and person-centred virtual care. The matrix is presented in the form of a pyramid, illustrating a hierarchy of needs and foundational conditions that must be built upon to create equity in virtual care or service delivery:

  • addressing the basic digital divide of connectivity and equipment
  • ensuring safe, secure, accessible, and usable platforms
  • building interventions and relationships that align with people's cultural and social contexts
  • equitable, confidential, and client-centric policies, while also ensuring that practitioners receive the training needed to deliver virtual care

I think the matrix is valuable and useful for anyone providing digital or hybrid/blended service, whether in health care or not. In particular, if you're committed to digital inclusion and equity, this matrix appears to provide a measurable model to help you develop your interventions and services.

These foundations overlap or intersect to limit or facilitate access to virtual care.

The matrix was created to guide the work of the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Virtual Care Collaborative. The goal is to ensure that health equity is centred in virtual care. The matrix is relevant to anyone looking to develop interventions, technologies, or projects that are digitally equitable and inclusive.

Webinar recording

On December 2, 2021, the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) Community of Interest and the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Virtual Care Collaborative (the Collaborative) presented a webinar that discussed:

  • the creation of the Virtual Care Equity Matrix
  • how it is guiding the Collaborative's work
  • its potential broad application to virtual care planning, research, and quality improvement.

Presenters:

Paul Bailey - strategist, urban planner and Interim Executive Director at the Black Health Alliance. Paul has spent the last decade designing interventions focused on: health and well-being, community violence, mental health and addictions, and the social service sector as it relates to improving outcomes for Black children, youth and families. His work is currently focused on social planning, health equity, and addressing the causes of neighbourhood distress and inequality.

PhebeAnn Wolframe-Smith, PhD - queer, neurodivergent white Settler and psychiatric survivor based in Wiikwedong (Thunder Bay). She is an Equity Coach with the Provincial System Support Program at CAMH and co-chair of the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Virtual Care Collaborative’s Equity and Lived Experience Working Group.

Allan Katz - has held progressively senior leadership positions in Ontario’s health care sector. Currently, Allan serves as a Board Director at Ontario211, Chair of the Stroke Network of Southeastern Ontario, and is a Board Director of Shared Support Services Southeastern Ontario. He is the principal of an independent health system planning consultancy and works with the Réseau des services de santé en français de l'est de l'Ontario. Allan has served in senior leadership roles at Riverside Health Care (Fort Frances, Emo and Rainy River in Northwestern Ontario). South East Community Care Access Centre, Health Care Network of Southeastern Ontario, Deep River and District Hospital, Northeastern Ontario Regional Cancer Centre and Muskoka/Parry Sound District Health Councils.

Virtual Care Equity Matrix

Summary

The Virtual Care Equity Matrix outlines key equity issues that must be addressed address in the delivery of virtual care. It highlights the conditions necessary for everyone to access high quality, timely, equitable, and person-centred virtual care.
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