Though there will always be a need to access in-person medical care, virtual healthcare technology has emerged as a complement to the healthcare system. With 6 million Canadians not having a family doctor and one third of Canadians unable to see their doctor within a week1, virtual care provides a flexible and convenient option that can help keep us healthy when the doctor’s office is out of reach.
Here are five ways TELUS Health Virtual Care is supporting Canadians:
1. Supporting good mental health
Healthy body, healthy mind. Overall health and wellness require daily maintenance and the tools to identify when something is going awry. Mental health factors, like stress and loneliness, can also deeply impact a person’s ability to remain in good physical health. That's why Virtual Care offers access to both primary care and mental health support, including rapid and convenient access to mental health specialists. For long-term support and more complex cases, Virtual Care can also offer Specialized Digital Therapy (dCBT) through self-guided modules or even act as a bridge to psychiatry to avoid any delays in treatment.
2. Increasing access to quality care
People living with chronic conditions and mobility issues, or residing in remote locations, face many barriers when it comes to accessing care. Virtual Care has helped bring healthcare home to people across Canada, and by diversifying the team of specialists to cover a broad spectrum of health and wellness concerns, TELUS Health Virtual Care serves more Canadians than ever before.
3. Putting the patient first
It’s important that patients receive the personalized attention and care they deserve, which is why Virtual Care is designed with the individual patient in mind. With 24/7 on-demand access to a broad range of healthcare professionals, employees and their families will benefit from compassionate care from dedicated clinicians who can address their health needs. In addition, with the patient’s consent Virtual Care can also communicate medical notes to a patient’s family doctor or other following physicians, ensuring proper continuity of care.
4. Reducing the strain on our healthcare system
Virtual Care can also complement the public healthcare system. By helping to reduce visits to overcrowded emergency rooms and clinics, plus enabling those who don’t have a family doctor to receive care, it can alleviate stresses on our healthcare system by providing patients with fast, confidential access to nurse practitioners. In the case of TELUS Health Virtual Care specifically, our latest data shows that more than 80% of consults are resolved through the app without needing an in-person visit, with the remaining 14% requiring a physical exam and 5% requesting a controlled substance prescription2. This helps ensure that physical visits only occur when necessary.
5. Providing flexible solutions for employees
Work can be stressful even in the best of times. With the isolation, staff shortages and increasing workloads that resulted from the pandemic, employees need more support than ever before. In addition to healthcare services available on demand, 24/7, TELUS Health LifeJourneyTM offers a variety of tools to support employees who may be experiencing the effects of prolonged stress and anxiety, encountering financial or legal difficulties or even struggling with addiction. With dedicated care advocates and personalized care plans, Virtual Care can be a safety net to help employees address their issues early and help them get back on their feet sooner rather than later.
1. Angus Reid, September 2022. https://angusreid.org/canada-health-care-family-doctors-shortage/
2. Internal data collected from January 2021 to July 2022; based on over 500,000 in-app consultations.
This article was originally posted on April 6, 2020, and has since been updated.