Virtual Kids News

Our Care Is Virtual But The Results Are Real

By Dr. Ed Les – Virtual Kids Physician

It was January 14, 2020 — pre-pandemic, before COVID-19 invaded every nook and cranny of our lives.

Winter had Calgary in its icy embrace: 28 degrees below zero, snow falling steadily.

Little Johnny had battled a fever all day.  By evening he had developed a rash.  His worried parents bundled him up, strapped him into his booster seat, and carefully navigated the slippery roads to the children’s hospital.

After four hours in a crowded waiting room — punctuated by repeated trips to the frigid parking lot to plug the meter — they finally saw a pediatric doctor. 

Ten minutes later they were on their way home, equipped with expert advice.  They rolled into bed at 2 am, utterly exhausted. 

At Virtual Kids, we take away that kind of pain. 

Fast forward to January 2021: Similar scenario, worried parents, same wintry landscape.  But now, thanks to the pediatric doctors at Virtual Kids, that family received the same ten minutes of expert pediatric advice delivered directly by videoconference to their home.

  • No waiting.
  • No exposure to other sick kids.
  • No feeding the hungry parking meter.
  • No staying up for half the night.

Since we opened our virtual doors in June 2020, we’ve cared for over 2000 children.  We’ve sent 4% of those kids in for in-person care; the other 96% of concerns have been dealt with, start to finish, in the comfort of their living rooms.

And it doesn’t matter where families are in our vast province.  Whether they are in Milk River, High Level, Edmonton, the Crowsnest Pass, or even at campgrounds — families have access to a highly-skilled pediatrician the same day

We’ve erased barriers to care, in keeping with our philosophy that all children deserve access to pediatric expertise.

The pandemic period has been very tough for many, many families.  Thankfully, due to the miracle of COVID vaccines, the end is in sight.  Soon families will be able to travel freely again. 

And even then, wherever they are — whether they’re relaxing in sunny Cancun or exploring villages in Europe — they can access, if necessary, the expert doctors at Virtual Kids.  All that’s needed is an internet connection.

Virtual medicine is here to stay.

But it’s important to do it well.  Convenience of access should not detract from top-quality care.

Over the past year the Virtual Kids team has demonstrated that this can be done, and done very well.

It’s been a privilege to serve the families of Alberta.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” states an old African proverb.

We agree.

Thank you, parents, for letting us be part of your village.

The Virtual Kids Team.

Virtual Kids. Real Wellness.

Students For Herd Immunity

By Dr. Ed Les – Virtual Kids Physician

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is tantalizingly close.

On July 1 most restrictions in Alberta will be lifted, and we will collectively begin the process of getting back to normal.

The fact that we are at this point is down to the magic of effective COVID vaccines.  We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the community of scientists and researchers who worked tirelessly to generate these vaccines in record time.

But it’s worth a reminder that vaccines don’t save lives: vaccinations do.

 

It’s been a challenge at times to confront and dispel myths around COVID vaccines, myths that have hindered people from lining up to receive a vaccine.  Many professionals have worked hard to meet that challenge, including Virtual Kids doctors via our Vaccine Confidence Clinic.

But it’s not just doctors who have been important in this effort.

 

Cha Cha Yang, a recent Harvard graduate, founded Students for Herd Immunity, with the goal of disseminating accurate, age-appropriate, and culturally relevant information about the COVID-19 vaccines.

In the words of Ms. Yang, her organization strives “to equip middle school and high school students with the skills, knowledge, and confidence required to lead conversations about COVID-19 vaccines in their own communities and fight vaccine hesitancy through peer-to-peer education.”

The innovative efforts of Students for Herd Immunity’s innovative efforts were recently covered by CTV News and the Hamilton Spectator.

 

Kudos to Ms. Yang and to her team for their hard work in putting the pandemic to bed!