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Digital and Virtual Care Taskforce
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About Sunnybrook's Digital and Virtual Care Taskforce

We’re excited to announce the creation of the Digital and Virtual Care Taskforce, led by Dr. Ilana Halperin and Sivan Keren Young and reporting to Sunnybrook’s Senior Leadership Team.

For decades, Ontario’s health-care sector has been exploring various digital advances in care delivery. But with the abrupt arrival of COVID-19, what’s become clear over the past nine months is that the rapid expansion and adoption of virtual care has the potential to become one of the biggest transformations in health care delivery of our time.

Accelerated change has been enabled through swift government policy updates, which under normal circumstances would have taken years to accomplish. But equally critical to Sunnybrook’s success this year is the quick and creative thinking from our frontline teams who have embraced technology and pivoted quickly to new approaches in care. Organizationally, phenomenal efforts by our teams have allowed us to continue to care for patients safely and efficiently from a distance. During the unprecedented times of a global pandemic, our ability to shift so expeditiously has been remarkable.

A 2020 study by Environics Research found that 70% of Canadians believe that virtual care “represents the future of health care.” This presents an opportunity for us to centralize our efforts and to develop a virtual care strategy that reflects the consistent and first-rate care that is synonymous with Sunnybrook. While for some clinicians and patients, virtual care has been both necessary and (sometimes) convenient, it’s essential that we see the same – if not better – outcomes for our patients. Furthermore, as we move into a more integrated Team Ontario approach to health care, digital health will play a crucial role in helping residents of North Toronto, Ontario and beyond, to access care closer to (if not directly from) home.

Not all problems in health care delivery can be solved by technology. Health care is a high-touch business. But as the past nine months have shown us, the untapped opportunities in digital innovation that can transform and enhance patient care and experience are endless, and they’re at our fingertips; this is why we’ve tapped two Sunnybrook leaders to bring the Virtual and Digital Care Taskforce together.

Meet the co-chairs

Dr. Ilana Halperin

Dr. Ilana Halperin, who is a Sunnybrook staff endocrinologist and Innovation Fellow at Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care, will co-chair the taskforce as Lead Physician, Digital and Virtual Care. An early adopter, Ilana was integrating virtual care into her practice before COVID, and she continues to cultivate and share her expertise as demand has rapidly grown.

 

Sivan Keren Young

Sivan Keren Young, who has led Sunnybrook’s digital communications strategy for the past decade, overseeing over a hundred patient-facing digital projects, websites and applications, will join Ilana as co-chair and as Sunnybrook’s Director of Digital Health and Virtual Care.

Enthusiasm for this portfolio abounds, and our co-chairs are looking forward to building upon the outstanding work already underway. In the coming weeks, Sivan and Ilana will be reaching out across the organization, and beyond, to engage in a collaborative and inclusive Team Sunnybrook approach to virtual care and digital heath.