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

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday March 31, 2020

Updated : Monday December 14, 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, telemedicine, or virtual health care services.

Provincial Telehealth Resources: An Interactive Map of Canada

Learn more about the Provincial Telehealth Options in Canada

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.

Provincial Telehealth Resources

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 the resources available from our interactive, clickable map of Canada.

TiaHealth

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

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 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

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 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

VirtualMed

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.

HealthCare 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

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. It 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

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

Coach Ivan

Coach Ivan is a free digital health coach who works with users to build a personalized plan to get 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.

Phzio: Virtual 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 Extended Health Care (EHC) benefit through GSC, provided their coverage is through Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc.

Virtual Care Services in the Time of COVID-19

Telehealth: it’s no longer a nice to have, but a must-have in the age of COVID-19. While some plan members have accessed virtual care before the pandemic, more plan members are turning towards the services as a safe alternative during this time.

Telehealth, telemedicine and virtual health care services are here to stay.