A2- Integrating Virtual Care: Provincial, Practice & Patient Level Enablers

2. Integrating digital health and virtual care

  • Date: Thursday, October 8, 2020
  • Concurrent Session A
  • Time: 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
  • Style: Panel Discussion (45 minutes-session)


Virtual care has become, and will continue to be, a vital component of primary care. The tremendous potential of virtual care brings with it significant challenges at all levels. We need to plan now to ensure that we achieve optimal patient, provider, and organizational experiences. Join this discussion with our expert panel as we share insights on practical approaches that will allow for the delivery of the most effective virtual care possible.


Onil Bhattacharyya

Dr. Onil Bhattacharyya MD, PhD is the Frigon Blau Chair in Family Medicine Research at Women’s College Hospital. He practices family medicine and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He is national co-chair of the Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovation Network funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research.


His research focuses on the application of service design, quality improvement and implementation science to care integration using digital tools. Dr. Bhattacharyya received his medical degree from the University of Montreal, and PhD in health services research from the University of Toronto. He has been a Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy at the Commonwealth Fund in New York City and a Takemi Fellow in International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Ed Brown
Dr. Ed Brown is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of OTN – now part of Ontario Health. An emergency physician who studied mathematics and engineering before embarking on his medical career, Dr. Brown is a passionate advocate for virtual care as a means of improving quality, patient-centred care and as an enabler of health system transformation. Dr. Brown has won numerous awards for his work in virtual care; in 2010, he was chosen as one of 25 Transformational Canadians by a national media panel sponsored by the Globe and Mail, CTV and La Presse. He is a Past President of the American Telemedicine Association, which named him to its College of Fellows in 2015.
Darren Larsen

Over his 28 years as a comprehensive care Family Physician, Darren has been involved in many provincial and national Health IT, Quality and Physician Leadership initiatives in Canada. He has contributed to multiple digital health, primary care and quality commissions for the Ontario Ministry of Health, Ontario Health (Quality, Digital Services and Cancer Care) as well as the Ontario and Canadian Medical Associations. 


He is Chair of the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario, Director for the federal agency Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, and is a senior fellow at WIHV (Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care). His digital health interests include data analytics, measurement for quality improvement and accountability, physician change and issues of scale and spread.

Darren obtained his Bachelor of Science at the University of Alberta, Medical Doctorate at the University of Calgary, did residency at the University of Ottawa and holds a Masters Certificate in Physician Leadership from York University’s Schulich School of Executive Management.  He currently works as Chief Medical Officer for OntarioMD, practices at Women’s College Hospital, and teaches at the University of Toronto in the Department of Family and Community Medicine as well as the Institute for Health Policy Management and Evaluation.

Kevin Samson



Dr. Samson is a family physician and IT lead at the East Wellington Family Health Team in Rockwood, Ontario. He is also an Electrical Engineering specializing in computer programming and biomedical engineering and has been actively involved in the development and application of healthcare IT applications throughout his career.

Dr. Samson is an AFHTO Board Member, Chair of the AFHTO Quality Steering Committee, and a member of the AFHTO Finance Committee. He is Chair of the OntarioMD TELUS PSS Community of Practice, an active OntarioMD Peer Leader, and sits on many of the OntarioMD Clinical Advisory Groups. He is also co-Chair of the Diabetes Action Canada Research Governing Committee, a member of the eConsult Clinical Advisory Committee, and a clinical advisor at the eHealth Centre of Excellence.

Dr. Samson has been a leader and advocate for virtual care for many years. Having incorporated virtual care into his practice well before the pandemic, he has developed practical, clinical insights that he has been able to share through a variety of presentations and as a member of the Ontario Health and OTN Virtual Visit Solutions Steering Committee. Dr. Samson received the 2019 inaugural Canada Health Informatics Clinical Innovator award which recognizes a clinical innovator who has shown outstanding leadership in Canada in advancing the use of Digital Health or Virtual Health in clinical practice resulting in improved provider and patient experiences and outcomes.