Military members receive virtual health care option


Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

A new digital health care application launches today at CFB Esquimalt and will add secure, discreet clinical video encounters for military members.

The downloadable mobile application entitled ‘REACT’ is an effort by Canadian Forces Health Services Centre (Pacific) to improve existing doctor-patient virtual care.

REACT will be used locally at CFB Esquimalt and CFB Borden, with plans to make the application available across the Canadian Armed Forces in the future. Both Mental Health and Primary Care clinicians will use REACT as part of its virtual care initiative to reduce in-person encounters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rollout of the encrypted and secure digital application came on the heels of last week’s Canadian Patient Safety Week (Oct. 26 to 30) by the CF H Services Group. The overall aim of REACT falls in line with the mandate to expand virtual care options to ensure military members have access to the best health care possible, said MGen Marc Bilodeau, CAF Surgeon General.

“The dispersed posture we have been forced to adopt since the beginning of the pandemic has required the CAF health care team to rapidly learn to incorporate different means of communication into how we work with members to improve their health,” he said. “This expanded virtual care capability is here to stay.”

After booking virtual care appointments through their designated Integrated Health Care Team, Esquimalt-based members will receive an email detailing how to connect to REACT. The application takes approximately 15 minutes to set up and can be used directly through the desktop version from the Google Chrome Web Browser or REACT’s app that can be downloaded to mobile devices. Connection to the service is much better on Wi Fi then cellular data.

LCdr Ian Kirby, CF H Svcs (P) Base Surgeon and Medical Director, has been working with CF H SVcs Group staff and local Base Information Services (BIS) for the past six months to fine tune and tweak REACT for use. 

“The key is to download and fully understand the process it involves ahead of your first appointment,” says LCdr Kirby. “All you need is a basic understanding of this app before you use it; it really isn’t more complicated than other popular programs such as Zoom or Facetime.”

An internal memo from CF H Svcs (P) advises members to dress appropriately for their appointments and use a quiet, confidential location. Appointments are considered a parade and missed appointments will be marked as a ‘No Show’ and the member’s chain of command will be advised.

The eventual expansion of virtual care options to members across the country means they will have access to video, email, and telephone appointments as potential options, says Captain Leigh Pinard, National Patient Safety Officer of the CF H SVcs Group.

Capt Pinard noted there are other benefits to REACT including convenience, flexible schedules, less time away from work, no requirement to travel, and no risk of potential exposure to COVID-19 and other contagious viruses.

REACT also allows health care teams to work from home. The ability to work remotely mitigates the impact of any potential COVID-19 outbreak in CAF health clinics. It gives the health care team a workable fallback plan in cases when in-person appointments aren’t possible, says LCdr Kirby.

“In the end, our biggest concern is ensuring the patient still gets the quality experience with their clinician that they would get in person,” he said.

  • A Youtube video – – is available to help users become familiar with REACT and how to use it.
  • For more information on how to make the most of your virtual care appointments visit the Canadian Patient Safety Institute webpage
  • Primary Care and Mental Health Care appointment booking can also be done online through the following Integrated Health Team (IHT) phone or email addresses: IHT-1: 3-4120, e-mail:; IHT-2: 3-5641, e-mail:; IHT-3: 3-5646, e-mail:
  • If a member does not know their IHT, call 3-4122 and they will direct you to the appropriate IHT.


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