Online Health Talks offer UHN patients access to reliable COVID-19 information

During the COVID-19 pandemic, having access to reliable health information is more important than ever. Patients and their families are concerned about how the pandemic might affect their care and how they can keep their loved ones safe during this challenging time. The Patient and Family Education Program at UHN has recognized this desire for information and is now offering monthly virtual Health Talks on YouTube.

The Health Talks program started 15 years ago as a resource to help patients and their families access the health information they need to prepare for and actively participate in their care while managing their health conditions. These in-person talks are held every month with each session revolving around a specific health topic such as heart disease, chronic pain, arthritis and stroke.

Attendees hear from trustworthy sources including doctors and patient partners who have experience navigating the healthcare system and managing their condition. Participants say that these events provide “the perfect balance between factual information and personal affective narrative.”

Recognizing the continued need for accurate health information during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Patient and Family Education Program started hosting online events when in-person talks were no longer possible. The first of these talks, “Virtual Visits: Making the Most of Your Phone or Video Appointments” aired in September 2020. The live audience for this event was more than double that of the in-person talks and peaked at 159 individuals. Since then, the video has been viewed almost 1,500 times.

With this success, these events are now being held every month. Other presentation topics have included, “Combatting Misinformation during COVID-19” and, “Staying Connected and Managing Stress during COVID-19.” Since September, the three videos have been viewed almost 2,500 times in total highlighting the demand for this expert information. One viewer commented that they “really appreciate the doctors and professionals providing clear and accurate information in these sessions.”

There is currently a gap in reliable non-English online health resources. The Patient and Family Education Program is helping to fill this gap by translating the on-demand Health Talks into other languages. Generous support from donors is driving this initiative and has allowed for the translation of the first recording into Cantonese. Offering these presentations in other languages is making expert health information more accessible to patients across Canada and internationally.

Subscribe to the UHN Patient Education channel on YouTube for the latest videos and updates on future live stream events.

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