Canadian Family Physician (CFP): On hidden psychological costs of virtual healthcare, A call to actionApril 26, 2022 by Lemos Kelly

June 28, 2021 / Adam Neufeld, MD MSc

In this article from the Canadian Family Physician (CFP), SDT International Scholar, Adam Neufeld, writes about the psychological impacts of virtual healthcare due to the global pandemic.

Meeting medical needs is a hot topic in virtual care. Equally important but less discussed, however, are basic psychological needs. Self-Determination Theory (SDT) - the leading theory of human motivation and well-being - tells us that autonomy (sense of volition), competence (sense of efficacy), and relatedness (sense of connectedness) are universal needs, and hindrance of them will come at significant functional costs: to our engagement, relationships, health and wellness. Unfortunately, while fostering these needs is highly beneficial in primary care - and perhaps more now than ever before - barriers to meeting these needs in today’s virtual healthcare landscape (e.g., with private sector healthcare, current governance of compensation mechanisms, and inequities in access and digital literacy, to name a few) are worryingly present.