Virtual Healthcare: Telehealth Services and Resources to Use During COVID-19

Published: Mar 31 | 2020
Modified: Apr 30 | 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to dominate headlines as governments around the world encourage people to stay at home and to practice social and physical distancing to reduce the spread of the virus and lessen the burden on healthcare systems. 

In a time where frequently leaving your house is not only actively discouraged, but could potentially be harmful to yourself or those around you, how can Canadians continue to meet their day-to-day healthcare needs? The answer lies in telehealth services or telemedicine.

What is Telehealth or Telemedicine?

Telemedicine (also referred to as telehealth) refers to technology that allows the remote delivery of healthcare services. If the word telemedicine evoked images of doctors doing patient assessments by webcam – you’re not wrong!

Today, there are many different telehealth services. For instance, consider the existence of virtual physiotherapy or a digital health coach (more on both of those below). A number of these telemedicine resources may be covered through your employee benefits plan. Check your benefits booklet or speak to your Plan Administrator to confirm coverage. 

Canadians looking to access telehealth services have many options. We’ve outlined a few of our favourites below.

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Provincial Options

A number of telehealth services and resources are available provincially. Although each province’s telemedicine options vary, it is worth investigating what coverage is available under your provincial health plan. You can learn more about provincial telehealth resources from our interactive, clickable map of Canada with services by province. As an example, consider the Ontario Telehealth Neetwork (OTN)!

The OTN is one of the largest telemedicine networks in the world and uses technology to provide access to care for patients in every hospital and hundreds of other healthcare locations across the province.

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tia. Health

Tiahealth allows users to book an appointment and skip the waiting in a walk-in or the weeks to see a family doctor. You’ll speak directly with Doctors in Canada by phone, video, or secure messaging, and will be able to receive referrals, requisitions, and any other documentation. Tiahealth is available nationwide in Canada.

Covered under these provincial health plans:

✔ OHIP   ✔ MSP   ✔ AHCIP

 

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EQ Care

EQ Care is a Canadian virtual health care provider with licensed physicians, nurses and specialists that are available 24/7 through mobile and web applications. All EQ Care’s services are fully available in both English and in French and include services such as Primary Care, Mental Health, Chronic Disease Management, and Urgent Medical advice. EQ Care is available nationwide in Canada.

Covered under these provincial health plans:

✔ MSP

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Appletree Virtual Care

Appletree Virtual Care offers video calls and phone consultations with licensed Canadian doctors that provide care for a wide range of issues, including prescriptions, referrals, requisitions, mental health, chronic conditions, skin issues, travel health, and general medical advice. The services are are easy to navigate and offer flexibility and choice for users with choices like male or female doctors, multiple languages, or doctors of different specialties. Appletree Virtual Care is available in Ontario only.

Covered under these provincial health plans:

✔ OHIP

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Virtual MED

VirtualMED offers medical consultations with licensed Canadian doctors, directly from your computer, mobile phone or tablet, via text, voice, or video consults and is available in both French and English in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

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Health Care Medical Centre

Healthcare Medical Centre provides complete care over the phone or through video conferencing, whether it’s a prescription refill, a work note, lab requisition, or a referral to see a specialist.

Covered under these provincial health plans:

✔ OHIP

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Maple Telemedicine*

Maple allows users to instantly connect with a Canadian-licensed doctor for medical care from their phone, tablet, or computer at any time, 24/7. Maple eliminates the need to visit an in-person clinic, increasing access to care, while reducing wait times.

*Preferred pricing is available to Green Shield Canada (GSC) plan members:

www.getmaple.ca/greenshield

Covered under these provincial health plans:

✔ MSP

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BEACON Digital Therapy*

BEACON Digital Therapy*

BEACON provides therapist-assisted, internet-delivered, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a clinically-proven method that’s all about building stronger resiliency through learning new skills to manage your thoughts and feelings. Relative to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, BEACON has several suggestions to support your mental wellbeing.

*Preferred pricing is available to Green Shield Canada (GSC) plan members:

https://www.mindbeacon.com/gsc-pmember

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Coach Ivan

Coach Ivan

Coach Ivan is a free digital health coach who works with users to build a personalized plan to get them moving more often. Getting active has a ton of health benefits and can help prevent chronic diseases like depression, hypertension, and diabetes. With more and more Canadians at home, staying active in daily life is more important than ever.

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Phzio: Online Physiotherapy**

Phzio is an accessible, cost-effective, and easy way to receive physiotherapy treatment online. Users can complete their telerehab treatment program on any digital device, including a phone, tablet, or computer, whenever and wherever it is comfortable for them.

**Phzio is automatically included in plan member’s EHC benefit through GSC, provided their coverage is through Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc.

Other Virtual Care and Online Services

There are other options for virtual care or online services that don’t technically fall under telemedicine but are nonetheless valuable and worth mentioning. Here are a few to consider:

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides access to counselling services with accredited professionals to help employees work through some of life’s toughest challenges. Many EAPs offer their services through a host of mediums including e-counselling and telephone counselling.

Online Pharmacies and Delivery

Consider filling your prescriptions online through a pharmacy service, like Alliance Pharmacy. Alliance Pharmacy provides innovative pharmacy care with time-saving services that bring a great pharmacy experience to people all across the country.

There are also websites such as Pocket Pills, which will fill your prescription, sort medications into packages by dose, and deliver right to your door!

Alternatively, you can contact your regular pharmacy and see if they offer delivery services.

Telehealth Services in the Time of COVID-19

Telehealth services have been around for a while now, but the COVID-19 pandemic is showcasing the value of virtual healthcare in a new way. Access to healthcare should be easy and safe, and right now, that means avoiding leaving your home unnecessarily.

If you have a healthcare need, there is likely a telehealth service out there for you. The best place to start is by confirming your provincial coverage and investigating what telehealth services are available to you, starting with our interactive map of Canada. This interactive map will quickly direct you to provincial telehealth resources and get you started on the path to virtual care from home.

Learn more about telemedicine options in your
province via our interactive map of Canada!

Learn More

Some things to keep in mind:

Not all of these services may be covered under your employee benefits plan. Be sure to check your coverage ahead of time. Your regular maximums, co-payments, and/or deductibles may apply to these services. To confirm whether your plan covers the above services, refer to your benefits booklet.

BBD plan members with coverage through GSC can learn more about their telemedicine options by downloading the information sheet below.

Download