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Telemedicine – Should you Consider it as Part of Your Benefits Plan?

In this post, we examine how digital technology is poised to transform the way we access health care. We look at the major players in the Canadian marketplace and opportunities for workplaces to integrate this benefit.

What is Telemedicine?

When you think of accessing health care, you likely picture going to your doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital. Patients access practitioners within a specific geographic location and are typically limited by the operating hours of a given modality.

Telemedicine is the act of consulting health care service providers over the Internet – using a smartphone or computer.

Plan members can consult a nurse practitioner or physician as well as other types of practitioners depending on the platform.

Through the various platforms and when appropriate, practitioners can:

  • Order and interpret tests

  • Write and renew prescriptions

  • Make specialist referrals and write sick notes

  • Assess and treat conditions like physicians do

  • Manage both acute and chronic illnesses

What is the Opportunity of Telemedicine?

A recent study by the Canadian Medical Association found that 69% of respondents indicated that they’d use virtual consultations with physicians for some of their appointments.

Another PwC report echoed those findings.

Growth of this market in Canada is currently lagging behind the US and Europe, but Canadian patients have an interest in reaping the benefits of this model where appropriate.

Research indicates that about 70 per cent of common illnesses can be diagnosed through virtual care.

  • Immediate consultation without sitting in a waiting room

  • Access from home, office, or even on vacation

  • Increased access for the elderly, those living in remote communities

  • An environment that might make it easier for someone who might be embarrassed to describe certain conditions face-to-face.

  • Option to use internet-enabled cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT), a commonly used therapy for a wide range of mental health concerns.

For employers, the investment in offering a telemedicine platform may translate to increased productivity if team members don’t have to leave the office to attend appointments for themselves, or if they can get the help they need for their children.

Current Landscape

* Pricing may be based on your group or specific arrangement.

Contact Us to discuss telemedicine options for your organization or let us know how it has been going for members of your team. We'd love to hear from you.


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