About Us

Welcome to the Virtual Integrated Platform for Spinal Cord Injury (VIP 4 SCI). You are part of an important research project to evaluate a Virtual Care Solution Designed to Deliver Better Coordinated and Integrated Care, in Local Primary Care and Community Sector Settings, to Patients with Spinal Cord Injury.

To address some of the many challenges impacting clients with SCI, technology, health and community support have been combined, and will be tested to provide proof of new ways to deliver support and services to these clients.

The study will identify areas where the technology was used frequently and effectively by both clients, health care and community service teams. Data will also be analyzed to assess clients’ health outcomes, access to and use of primary care and community support services, satisfaction with the virtual care solution; and cost-savings to the healthcare system.

We anticipate that this virtual care solution will help more patients get better and faster access to healthcare and community-based services, at reduced cost compared to usual (i.e. in-clinic) care.

The Challenges For Clients

Lack of access to primary care support close to home – that is, a local family doctor or inter-professional family health team, is the most common challenge facing SCI clients.

SCI clients do not have a simple, integrated tool that allows them to connect with appropriate clinical and/or non-clinical support from their own home. Therefore, many clients often return to their rehab hospital or visit a local emergency department when disability-specific clinical help and community supports are not available.

Travel and accessible transportation can be significant hurdles for our clients and may prevent them from seeking medical assistance until their condition becomes serious and requires hospitalization.

A Research Project

The platform is part of a two-year research project. It will evaluate how SCI clients use a virtual care solution to access health and supportive care services from home. Access includes communicating with a primary care physician, a specialist, a Regional Services Coordinator, a Peer Support Coordinator and peer volunteers.

Funded by the Office of the Chief Innovation Officer in the Ministry of Health, the platform was developed through an alliance of medical, academic, community and industry partners. The main partners include Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, ForaHealthyMe Inc., the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the Centre for Family Medicine in Kitchener, ON. To learn more about the partners, visit the Project Partners page.

A Virtual Circle of Care

To increase access to care at the community level, the platform represents a collaborative effort to enhance service delivery, communication and engagement. Through the platform, study participants will be able to create their own virtual circle of care, which may include a Regional Services Coordinator, a Peer Support Coordinator, a peer volunteer and their family physician. The product delivers tools and applications that improves communication and information exchange, and seamless coordination of services between community support staff and physicians, and allows clients to access support services and healthcare from home.

Tools include:

  • Video-conference solutions for virtual consultations, educational sessions and facilitated peer support groups
  • Messaging applications for communications
  • Calendars and address book for electronic Scheduling
  • Journals for tracking and questions and recording health events during and between visits
  • Goal setting applications to track personal and health goals
  • Medication Trackers and Online Forms to prepare for your medical visits
Critical elements of the platform are tools that enable clients to complete and submit online assessments before visiting the clinic, to participate in video-based consultations and use self-reporting tools to monitor any changes to emotional and physical health.

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.