The 21st century house call: Is virtual health here to stay?

The 21st Century House Call: Is Virtual Health Here to Stay?

The global COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed an unimaginable transformation in how we access health care.

In a matter of weeks, appointments with health professionals that typically happened in-person were booked for telephone or teleconference to enable physical distancing. Not long after, health and wellness programs moved online.

But how did a traditionally slow-to-change health care system transform itself so quickly? An urgent need for new policies, of course. But there’s much more.

Hear from UBC experts Dr. Kendall Ho, Dr. Silke Cresswell and Dr. John Pawlovich as they share their insights on how the use of technology to improve access to health care in rural and remote communities during the last few decades has paved the way for rapid uptake of virtual health and predictions for the future.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. PST

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John Pawlovich

Dr. John Pawlovich is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Practice. He completed his medical degree in 1994 at UBC and a two-year family practice residency in Chilliwack. Since then, he has worked in many rural and remote areas across Canada and British Columbia (B.C.). For the past 25 years, Dr. Pawlovich has been dedicated to improving Indigenous health with a focus on bringing innovative primary care and specialty services onto reserves to reach the people most in need. Using new technologies such as telehealth, Dr. Pawlovich is able to connect with multiple remote Indigenous communities to provide residents with the daily primary care needs they deserve. He continues to make monthly visits to northern Indigenous communities to ensure the closeness of his relationship to the people remains strong. He is currently the Director of the Rural Education Action Plan in British Columbia, the Medical Director for Carrier Sekani Family Services and the Telehealth Sector Lead for the Rural Coordination Center of B.C. Dr. Pawlovich is involved in many telehealth initiatives across the province and is the co-founder and co-lead of the BC Virtual Health Grand Rounds, and the e-Health theme lead for the UBC Faculty of Medicine. He speaks both nationally and internationally on virtual healthcare solutions and systems.

Silke Appel Cresswell

Dr. Silke Cresswell is a movement disorder neurologist, Associate Professor and Marg Meikle Professor in Parkinson’s Research at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health and the UBC Movement Disorder Clinic. Her clinical and research work focusses on a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to the treatment and prevention of brain disorders – including interventions targeting physical and emotional wellbeing through active engagement in exercise, art, mindfulness, nutrition, enjoying nature and community building. She is investigating the role of the gut microbiome and nutrition with the goal of finding new approaches to neurodegenerative disorders. She is the past-president of the Canadian Movement Disorder Society, serves as the co-director of the annual National Canadian Neurology Residents Course for Movement Disorders, and is co-founder and director of the BC Brain Wellness Program launched in 2019. During the pandemic, the program went virtual and expanded greatly, providing a lifeline for British Columbians living with chronic brain conditions, their care partners and healthy agers.

Kendall Ho

Dr. Kendall Ho is a practicing emergency medical specialist, Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, and Lead for the Digital Emergency Medicine Unit. He has gained professional recognition for his ground-breaking digital health research for applying innovative technologies to support patient transition between emergency departments and the community. He is the medical director of the HealthLink BC Virtual Physicians program called HealthLink BC Emergency iDoctor-in-assistance (HEiDi). He is also the lead of the Real Time Virtual Support pillar of the BC Emergency Medicine Network. Dr. Ho’s work has been recognized with provincial and national awards for research and education in digital health and community engagement.


Zahra Premji

Zahra Premji is a host/reporter for CBC News Vancouver. Previously, she has worked as a host for CBC Alberta News in Edmonton and as a reporter in Manitoba on various stories from racism to health and crime to asylum seekers and immigration. She has been an active reporter on the COVID-19 pandemic including recently reporting on how the pandemic has left people with chronic illness without critical access to washrooms.


This is the second webinar in our Transforming Health for Everyone series.

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