Technological innovation is transforming most Canadian industries, and a recent study on behalf of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) revealed that Canadians are ready to embrace such a revolution when it comes to healthcare. In fact, 75% believe that technology can provide solutions to problems within our traditional healthcare system, like convenient access to care and chronic disease management.
But the reality is that less than 1 in 10 Canadians have actually experienced a virtual doctor visit for themselves, unlike in the UK and US where telemedicine is more widely adopted.
Are you in that majority? Let’s look at four reasons to consult a virtual doctor:
1. SAVE TIME AND MONEY
As the saying goes, time is money — and the notoriously long travel and wait times associated with seeking non-urgent medical care in Canada can be a drain on both.
From taking time off work (we know that Canadians without children typically take up to six days off for doctors’ visits, while those with kids take up to 12), to travel and parking costs, in-person medical appointments not only create stress surrounding lost time, but can pose a financial burden too.
Virtual doctor visits, however, are available on-demand and can address a breadth of health and wellness, injury, illness and ongoing disease management issues through instant messaging and video chat — without leaving home or work. It makes immediate, hassle-free healthcare a reality 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the world.
Read our Virtual Healthcare Industry Report for more information
2. AVOID CROWDED CLINICS AND EMERGENCY ROOMS
Millions of Canadians do not have family doctors, but 20% of those that do report waiting seven days or more for an appointment. As a result, many of us turn to walk-in clinics or emergency rooms as a substitute, or worse — avoid seeking medical attention altogether. Consider these statistics:
- More than 600,000 Canadians use ERs for non-emergent reasons on a regular basis
- More than half of total visits to ERs in Canada are for non-urgent conditions
- Canadians living in rural areas are more likely to use ERs for non-urgent conditions
From respiratory issues to dermatology concerns to cuts and burns and more, virtual doctor visits via telemedicine platforms like Akira by TELUS Health eliminate the need for most non-urgent clinic and emergency room visits.
3. IMPROVE THE CONTINUITY OF YOUR HEALTHCARE
As a new report by Accenture echoes, virtual healthcare also make it easier for people to become actively involved in their own care: “Consumers get the convenience of around-the-clock care delivered on their terms, and a wider range of services when they are healthy, temporarily ill or injured, or managing an ongoing condition.”
The Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) recent study reinforces this view: seven in 10 Canadians agree that incorporating more technology into their healthcare management will enable them to prevent illnesses because they will be diagnosed and treated earlier.
With Akira by TELUS Health, patients automatically receive follow-up care via text message from the nurse practitioner or physician they consulted with, without actually having to make a follow-up appointment.
We must also recognize the provision of virtual doctor visits to extend the reach of high quality care to underserved populations and remote communities where access to medical attention can be limited to begin with.
4. GET PRIVATE MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Scheduling challenges, lack of time and poor flexibility continue to make it difficult for Canadians to prioritize mental and emotional health, but new research suggests that 90% of behavioural and mental health services can be delivered virtually.
Unfortunately, many Canadians also still feel insecure about the perceived stigma of seeking mental health support, but virtual mental healthcare services can alleviate that fear completely with convenient and confidential mental health consultations — carried out anytime, anywhere, as soon as support is needed.
Mental healthcare at our fingertips is a modern-day solution for a difficult modern-day reality: 60% of North American workers are facing more mental health and substance abuse issues than they were two years ago.
Would you supplement your traditional healthcare routine with virtual doctors’ visits? Click here to learn more about telemedicine and virtual healthcare.
 Murphy, R. (2018), Majority of Canadians have taken time off work for medical appointments: survey.
 Canadian Institute for Health Information survey (2016), How Canada Compares: Results From The Commonwealth Fund’s 2016 International Health Policy Survey of Adults in 11 Countries —Accessible Report, retrieved from www.cihi.ca
 PwC Healthcare, Making Care Mobile, retrieved from www.pwc.com/ca/en/industries/healthcare.html
 Benefits Canada (2019) Mental health and substance abuse issues on the rise: survey, retrieved from: www. bene tscanada.com