9 Telehealth Services Available to Canadians During the Pandemic
Not feeling well? Have a health concern? Need a prescription filled? These Canadian telehealth services can help you while you're in quarantine.
Canada’s Telehealth Services
As you settle into the new normal (#stayhome), you’re probably finding the need to change the way you deal with health concerns, in particular, doctor’s appointments. What should you do now, when you can’t visit a doctor? Book an e-appointment.
There are many telehealth services available that can provide help to Canadians experiencing non-emergency concerns. This can include anything from body aches to mental health stressors. A range of doctors and wellness experts are available on the other side of your tech to answer your questions, help you feel better, and give you a prescription when needed. Available through websites or through apps on your phone, telehealth can be super convenient, effective, and affordable. In fact, some patients say they’re more comfortable talking to a healthcare professional at home than in a doctor’s office.
Of course, not everyone is a good candidate for telehealth. Dr. Howard Ovens, Chief Medical Strategy Officer, Sinai Health System and staff emergency physician at Mount Sinai Hospital, reminds Canadians that if they have an emergency, the best way to receive treatment is by visiting the emergency room. “Some people are really sick, either related to COVID or all the other things we always see in the emergency department (appendicitis, broken bones, heart attacks), and they need attention,” he says. “We want them to feel safe and come in to get assessed.” (Find out what else Dr. Ovens had to say about Covid-19.)
Below, a list of telehealth services available in Canada.
Telehealth Ontario is offering fast and free medical advice via phone to those in Ontario. (Not on Ontario? Find other provincial/territorial telehealth services.) At any time of the day, any day of the week, a registered nurse is available to take your call. The nurse will help you decide whether to handle the medical issue yourself, visit your doctor or go to the ER. On the Telehealth Ontario website, you’ll also find a COVID-19 self-assessment which can help you determine how to seek further care if you think you have coronavirus symptoms. Telehealth Ontario can be reached at 1-866-797-0000.
Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN)
The Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) is a not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Ontario. During your eVisit, you can speak to a healthcare provider via video using a computer, smartphone or tablet. OTN has a plethora of other services including retinal screening for diabetics, virtual palliative care program, Indigenous services and virtual mental health coaching. Visit their website for more info.
Tia Health allows patients to connect with Canadian doctors via phone, video or messaging. You can choose your own doctor, and even one who speaks the language you’re most comfortable with. Aside from prescriptions, referrals, requisitions and mental health services, they are now also offering COVID-19 screening. Tia Health is covered in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia (fees start at $30 for other provinces.) Book your virtual appointment through their website.
(Got a new prescription? Here’s what to ask your doctor before taking a new medication.)
Like the name suggests, Virtual Clinics offer virtual appointments in which patients can connect to a doctor via phone, video or messaging. Their services include lab test results on demand as well as prescription and renewals delivered to your doorstep. Virtual Clinics is free for British Columbia residents and starts at $30 for Canadians in other provinces. To book your virtual appointment, visit their website.
Livecare is the only telehealth company owned and operated by physicians. They offer virtual visits with a medical provider with various specialties such as mental health, cardiology, endocrinology, pain management, sleep disorders and many more. Through video, you can discuss prescription refills, lab and test results, follow-up care and general questions. Livecare also has online journals, health trackers and calendars to help you manage your health. You can give them a call at 1-855-599-8817 from 9 to 5 p.m. PST on weekdays.
Not ready to chat to someone about your mental health concerns due to coronavirus? Here’s how to deal with quarantine depression, according to therapists.
With Maple, you can talk to a doctor in less than two minutes using your smartphone, tablet or computer 24/7. Doctors can help with various medical issues such as cough/cold/flu, urinary tract infections, sexual health, mental health, general prescription renewals etc. Maple also offers online dermatology, pediatrics, oncology, naturopathy and other specialties. To get started, visit their website or download the Maple app.
Felix offers a way for Canadians to get their lifestyle medications including birth control, acne and hair loss medications. First, you complete your online visit ($40 fee) by answering questions about your medical history. Then, based on your consultation, you can get a prescription within 24 hours. The medication is then shipped to your door at no extra cost. Visit their website to sign up.
Look Good Feel Better
Look Good Feel Better is a charitable organization that is dedicated to helping women with cancer manage the effects their treatment has on their appearance. They are currently offering virtual workshops free of charge: there’s one on skin care and cosmetics and another on wigs and hair alternatives. The workshops can be accessed using your computer or tablet. Visit their website to learn more and register.
Inkblot is an online mental health and wellness platform that offers video counselling sessions. Through talk therapy, hundreds of licensed counsellors and life coaches are available to help you navigate through mental health concerns including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, grief and addiction. Your first session is free of charge, with half-hour sessions costing $37.50. Inkblot is also currently offering a free 30-minute meditation session.
Next, check out the best apps for soothing the mind.