Virtual Health Care is here! Many insurance companies are now offering virtual health as an add-on solution to employer benefit plans. Offering telehealth and virtual health care makes healthcare more accessible and can allow you to start a clinical consultation right from your smartphone – at the office or home. Virtual consultations with a Nurse Practitioner or Doctor have pushed their way into the Canadian market. There are now thousands of apps that have come to the market this past year which allows users to receive a diagnosis, prescriptions, lab requisitions, specialist referrals; and all with proactive follow-ups.
According to a 2017 Ipsos survey, it was discovered that almost 7 in 10 Canadians pass up going to a see a doctor because of long wait times, not having enough time or simply not having access to care. If you are comfortable with the virtual approach, it is a straightforward and convenient option which eliminates waiting in emergency room and saves you time. Outside of Canada, patients in the U.S. and U.K. have been using the virtual method as a popular approach to health care for the last couple of years.
Virtual health-care apps are gaining visibility in Canada and even being promoted by group benefits insurance carriers. Studies show that treating minor injuries and common illnesses via telemedicine is safe and clinically effective. When thinking of the services of virtual health care, it is not meant to replace your family doctors or not meant to replace an emergency room visit. They are best used to diagnose common illnesses from the comfort of your own home, eliminating the need to a doctor visit or walk-in clinic.
At this point, most provincial health plans do not cover virtual healthcare apps. However, Canadian businesses are starting to include virtual health care apps as a way to add value to their benefit plan and reduce absenteeism. Only time will time how fast companies begin to adopt this as part of their group benefits plan.
We would be happy answer any questions or to discuss how to include into a group benefits plan.