Virtual Health

Please note that as things change rapidly, Q&As and guidelines will be updated. Review this website often to ensure you have the most up to date information or consult your leader if you have concerns or identify discrepancies. 

What Virtual Health options can I use and how can I help reserve PHC’s network capacity for critical clinical applications? 
Clinicians are encouraged to use the tools they already may have. This includes the telephone, Zoom, FaceTime, Skype for Business and SMS (text messaging). Zoom accounts are being provisioned for clinical visits. For corporate and meeting communications, please continue to use Skype for Business.

It’s important we reserve PHC’s network capacity for critical clinical applications. Information Management/Information Technology Services (IMITS) is working on improving network capacity, but it will remain limited in the short term. For now, please conduct video visits using one of the options below.
  • Use a corporate device and turn off Wi-Fi. Rogers and Telus have lifted data limits for corporate devices.
  • Use a personal mobile device and data plan.
  • Conduct video visits from home, using your own internet connection.
How can I use SMS (text messaging) with patients?
  • Use the ‘native’ text messaging application that comes installed on your phone, not one you’ve downloaded.
  • Authenticate the identity of the intended recipient prior to communicating.
  • Limit patient identifiers if possible.
Is written patient privacy consent required? 
No. Documented verbal patient consent is required. Document in the patient’s chart.
How can I use Zoom for virtual visits?
  • Zoom is user-friendly and can be accessed via a web browser or a mobile application (iOS, Android).
  • Please complete this form to request a Zoom license (the free version of Zoom is not approved by PHC):
  • Once the PHC virtual team provides you with a licence for a Zoom account (which gives you more functionality than the free version), use the list below to find the user guide(s) you need. When you start a Zoom meeting through a web browser, you will see a message saying: "Please click Open Zoom Meetings if you see the system dialog."  If you are using a PHC device, click “start from your browser” at the bottom. 

All Users:

For problems using Zoom on a PHC workstation, please email Service Desk ( and include "ZOOM" in the subject. Your email will enter a queue and the service team will respond to you shortly. Your cooperation and patience will help the Service Desk help all of us in this busy time.

For Providers:

For Patients:

Zoom Security:

Is the licensed version of Zoom secure to use?

The configuration settings of the licensed versions of PHC ZOOM for Healthcare instances have been updated as of April 02. These changes have been implemented to enhance security.

Some of these changes will affect the user experience, including:

  • Passwords are now required for all virtual meetings. Please update meeting invitations for upcoming meetings that were scheduled prior to April 03.
  • Virtual Health Visits can no longer be recorded
  • Integration with Google calendar, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox is disabled
  • File transfer is disabled
  • Annotations during Virtual Health Visits are turned off

For the following, the default settings have been changed, but can still be adjusted by the user:

  • The virtual “Waiting Room” for Virtual Health Visits is enabled
  • Screen sharing will be restricted to the Host
  • Participants will not be able to save chat messages

Virtual Health processes and training documents will be updated accordingly. Read the other Zoom resources on this webpage or contact your program operation leader for information on integrating Virtual Health in the program service delivery model.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at virtual or email the service desk.

This info was included in an April 03 IMITs Advisory. 

How can I use FaceTime for virtual visits?
  • Available on Apple devices.
  • Documented verbal patient consent is required.
  • Note: the patient can access the physician's phone number, even if the “do not show my ID” option is selected.
  • User guides are below.

SOP Facetime use - clinical (PDF)
Patient notice: Use of Skype or FaceTime (PDF)
FaceTime patient guide (PDF)

How can I use Skype for Business for virtual visits? 

User guides are below.

Planning to offer virtual visits via Skype for Business
Conducting virtual visits via Skype for Business
Skype for Business virtual visit Q and A for patients

Virtual Health Policy
How do you use CST Cerner for Telehealth/Virtual Visits?

For CST Cerner live sites, CST Cerner remains the electronic health record for documentation of telehealth and virtual patient visits.  If your clinical area/clinic currently registers and schedules patients for ambulatory visits and documentation is currently performed in CST Cerner, these functions extend to virtual encounters.  Virtual visits should be captured appropriately in CST Cerner as this provides for better statistical tracking of usage, correct charge capture, and archiving of documentation.

Regardless of what telehealth/virtual platform you use, the patient encounter should be scheduled in CST Cerner in order for you to document into the electronic chart and for the encounter to be captured for hospital reporting.

Scheduling Clerk or MOA with Scheduling Privilege:

An outpatient or pre-outpatient encounter can be flipped to a telehealth encounter:

  • At the time of the virtual visit, the scheduler/MOA should “check-in” the patient by changing the pre-outpatient encounter to an active encounter (telephone consult, etc.)
  • If the provider and/or clerk are off-site this may require additional coordination.

A new telehealth encounter can be created:

  • If no pre-outpatient encounter exists, it can be created, or a telehealth encounter can be created immediately prior to the expected virtual visit – by a scheduling clerk or MOA with scheduling privileges.  Instructions here:
  • Future clinics should continue to be scheduled in the usual way (by creating pre-outpatient encounters).


Virtual visit can be conducted through whichever modality is most appropriate for the circumstances (telephone, Skype for Business, Facetime, Zoom, etc.).  See PHC Med Staff website for information on different platforms.

  • Ensure you are using the correct Telehealth Encounter (for the specified date and clinic location – as the patient may have multiple encounters of this type) – using your “Ambulatory Organizer” will help you by selecting the correct encounter.
  • Verbal consent to use telehealth is required as some platforms maintain their servers out of the country.  Consent should be documented in the note.  An autotext (,,telehealth) is available in dynamic documentation to facilitate this consent.
  • Conduct your interview/assessment of the patient.  Document using the same forms, document templates as you use in the usual outpatient setting. 
  • When signing/saving your dynamic documentation, you may change the Document Type to “Televisit Note” in order to have the document filed distinctly from the outpatient clinic notes.  This is optional and based on your preference, but you are encouraged to do so, as you will be able to better differentiate which visits were seen in person versus virtually.  QRG available here:

Report to the scheduling clerk which patients were seen virtually so that they can “complete” the encounter in Cerner.

Can I fax prescriptions from my phone to the pharmacy?
PHC technology enablers are being rolled out to support Virtual Health. A secure email-to-fax service is available for use for Providers (Physicians and Nurse Practitioners) who need the ability to prescribe remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Providers will be able to “fax” their hand-written prescriptions securely via email. Some electronic medical records (Plexia, Profile and Oscar) are set up with SRFax to send from within the EMR.
What are Providence’s guidelines for teleworking? 
Please view the guidelines here:
Who do I contact when I have questions about using Virtual Health? 


This page last updated Apr 3, 2020 6:16pm PDT