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One-in-Five households in British Columbia has been tested for COVID-19

Changing face of health care revealed in GVBOT survey.

For Immediate Release
October 20, 2020

VANCOUVER, B.C. —21% of British Columbians have, or live with someone who has, been tested for COVID-19. That is one of the headline findings of a new survey, that examines the changing nature of health care in the wake of the global pandemic. 

The survey of B.C. residents was conducted by Leger on behalf of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and was released to coincide with the start of GVBOT’s Health Care Forum Presented by Pacific Blue Cross. 

The survey highlighted how technology is shifting health care in British Columbia, particularly the impact of remote access to medical practitioners. According to the survey, more B.C. residents chose to use telehealth services (73%) than in-person doctor appointments (42%) during the course of the pandemic. Those that have used telehealth are largely satisfied with the level of service received (83%) and increasingly desire to access care in this way (81%), even when life returns to “normal.”

The survey also highlighted the role that technological advancements could play in getting our region up and running again in the wake of COVID-19. In particular respondents revealed that the introduction of rapid testing would encourage them to safely engage in more social and economic activities including visiting restaurants (35% increase), returning to the workplace (30% increase) and travelling outside of Canada for pleasure (33% increase). 

Finally, the survey also revealed the toll that tackling the pandemic has had on our province’s mental health, with one-third of B.C. residents (32%) admitting that their mental health is worse since the COVID-19 crisis started.

Key findings

Telehealth 
More and more British Columbians are accessing health care through remote services such as telehealth.

 

  • 71% of those who had a telehealth experience attended by telephone because the health care provider offered only this option.
  • Overall patients were satisfied with their telehealth experience.
  • Just over half of British Columbians revealed that they would use telehealth in the next six months, especially those who already consulted with a provider in person (70%) or using telehealth (81%).
  • Post pandemic, one-third of respondents will continue seeking health care via telehealth.

Rapid testing
Health care innovations, including the implementation of rapid testing, are widely supported by British Columbians.

  • Respondents were eager to see the introduction of Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT), with many claiming it would lead them to engage in more social and economic activity than they do today. The most popular activities that RDT would make possible included attending a family wedding (51%), going to restaurants/bars (35%), spending time at a shopping mall (34%) or travelling for business (24%) and outside of Canada for pleasure (33%).
  • When asked what further advances to health care they’d like to see the B.C. Government support, 68% of respondents named innovative treatments as their first or second choice. 
  • Overall, the current testing experience was seen as successful, although respondents noted there is room for improvement with the follow-up received.

Mental health 
As we have seen during recent months, the mental health impact of COVID-19 and its associated restrictions are front of mind for B.C. residents.

  • COVID-19’s impact on working British Columbians has meant that almost half (46%) of respondents are now working remotely.
  • Worryingly, while a third of respondents believe COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health, only 12% have sought support. 
  • The economic impact of mental health is also being felt, as 15% of working British Columbians believe their mental health has impacted their job performance.

Quotes

“This survey shows us the impact that health care advancements such as rapid testing could have on boosting British Columbians’ social and economic confidence. B.C. businesses stand ready to help, supporting the continued adoption of technology and innovation that is required for the future of care in our region.

While the survey looks towards a future beyond the current crisis, it doesn’t ignore the immediate effects it has had on our lives. British Columbians are clearly conscious of the long-term impact COVID-19 will have, not only on their own health, but health care in general. That’s especially true when it comes to mental health, which is fast becoming a second front in our battle against this global pandemic.”
Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO of Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

“Having an accurate picture of how the public thinks is crucial in terms of informing the many important decisions that need to be made as we build the next normal. With this in mind, Leger surveyed British Columbians to understand their experiences with the health care system during the pandemic and how COVID-19 is impacting them.”
Heather Owen, Vice-President, Leger. 

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About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:
Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Pacific Canada's leading business association, engaging members to impact public policy at all levels of government and to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.'s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through four unique Signature Programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events programs in the country, providing a platform for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.'s business leaders.

About Leger
Leger is the largest Canadian-owned market research and analytics company, with more than 600 employees in eight Canadian and US offices. Leger has been working with prestigious clients since 1986. For more information: leger360.com.

About the survey
The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade with assistance by Leger surveyed 1,004 people to measure their opinions on the changing trends and opinions in health care as a result of COVID-19. The survey was conducted online via Leger’s online panel, LEO. Interviews were conducted from October 9 to October 11, 2020.

Media contact:

Daniel Bettridge
Communications Manager
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

604-640-5450 

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