A generous donation from philanthropists Alan and Gwendoline Pyatt is empowering the Virtual Health team at Vancouver General Hospital to advance virtual health care in B.C., improving access and quality of care across the province

COVID-19 has created an urgency for the health care system to adopt virtual health care solutions, and thanks to the Alan and Gwendoline Pyatt Foundation, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the Virtual Health team at Vancouver General Hospital are now poised to increase access to child and youth mental health and substance use services through a transformation of virtual care. 

“Virtual health solutions are so powerful,” says Megan Stowe, Executive Director, Virtual Health and Clinical Informatics at VCH. “We are passionate about adopting them in a way that creates quality and access, that is equivalent to in-person care.” 

Specifically, these funds will enable more flexible ways to access care at VCH-Vancouver Community Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU). It will provide opportunities for clients to better access services, including introducing online intake forms and virtual intake sessions as well as self-scheduling options so services are provided at a time that best meets the family’s needs. Clients will also be able to share information with their care team. These opportunities will reduce inequities through digital inclusion. 

“Change in complex adaptive systems like health care is a challenge, and advancing virtual health within the CYMHSU teams requires support,” says Stowe. “Thanks to Alan and Gwendoline Pyatt, we are able to take these critical next steps. The future is very exciting.” 

CYMHSU services are key to ensure children and youth have the supports they need when impacted by mental health and/or substance use concerns. This has become even more pivotal considering the toll of the pandemic has taken on youth mental health. Improving access to care through virtual health solutions provides an additional option for families, youth and children to access the care and services they need in a way that works best for them.  

In 2019, the CYMHSU team completed a robust engagement with families utilizing their services. The outcome of that engagement was that families wanted virtual ways to better access services and resources.   

“Virtual care is becoming increasingly more vital to our health-care system, and its advancement has only been made possible thanks to the generosity of Alan and Gwendoline Pyatt,” says Angela Chapman, President & CEO of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “This generous gift will transform care for children and youth across B.C. who need these services most.” 

The program will launch in 2022.  

Donor funding is vital to advance innovative health care solutions for patients across BC. You can support this work by making a donation today.