Since the advent of the internet, we have digitized many things. E-mail, with its immediacy, has mostly made snail mail a thing of the past. With iTunes and streaming services like Spotify increasing their presence, CDs are going the way of the Dodo.
For the most part, however, in-person doctor visits remain part of our lives. While inconvenient to our schedule, having a physician poke/probe us always seemed like an inevitable part of the process. Besides, how would they accurately diagnose us?
And then, COVID-19 happened. Suddenly, random strangers on the street were potential biohazards. This state of affairs made seeing the doctor especially problematic. After all, these professionals spend their days close to countless ill individuals – any of whom could be infected with the virus.
To be fair, most doctors religiously abide by protocols that minimize the spread of COVID-19. But, that doesn’t provide much comfort to elderly or immunocompromised patients. For these high-risk individuals, one exposure is all it takes for them to catch this exceptionally dangerous virus.
For this reason, virtual doctor appointments have become a thing. Consequently, Canadian telehealth apps have seen explosive growth recently. In this guide, we’ll compare online doctor service Canada so you can pick the best one for your needs.
What Are Canada Online Doctor Services?
An online doctor service allows you to consult with Canadian trained and licensed physicians virtually. Initially, these platforms served those who lived in remote areas, or those unable to get to the doctor easily.
However, in these COVID times, avoiding exposure to the virus is top-of-mind for most people. Consequently, more of us, but especially older adults and the immunocompromised, have started using Canadian online health services more.
These platforms allow doctors to address many patient issues that don’t require a physical examination. And in doing so, these apps are helping to break the chain of virus transmission.
Most Doctor Appointments Don’t Require An In-Person Visit
The list of maladies that don’t require a doctor’s presence is far longer than you’d ever expect. These issues include sick notes, eye and skin conditions, mental health, and more. Even if you need to come in for a more thorough examination, you’ll still get useful feedback beforehand.
Indeed, you can deal with many issues via telehealth. Not only can you access care faster, but it also frees up space in doctor’s offices. This way, patients who actually need in-person care also get better service. By staying home, you also keep these people – and yourself – safe. To use a well-worn cliche – everyone wins.
Which Canadian Online Doctor Service Is Best?
So, you’re ready to give Canada telehealth apps a chance. How do you choose the best virtual clinic? You could spend hours going from one site to the next and compiling notes. Or, you could leave the detail work to us.
Below, we’ll compare each of the following platforms. That way, you can choose the best online doctor service Canada for you.
In 2015, friends Brett Belchetz, Roxana Zaman, and Stuart Starr commiserated about the state of Canada’s healthcare system. While its doctors and infrastructure were stable, lengthening wait times bothered the group.
The beginning of GetMaple emerged from that conversation. Today, the app allows its users to see a doctor within two minutes or less. You start by describing your symptoms. After that, the app will connect you to the best available physician. After an extensive consultation (there is no time limit), your doctor will issue a prescription to address your condition. If needed, they can also issue sick notes that are good for up to seven days.
The good aspects of this app are apparent: it allows you to access medical advice in minutes. Rather than wait hours in a doctor’s office with contagious individuals, you can get a legit prescription without exposing yourself to colds, the flu, or COVID-19.
On the other hand, GetMaple, like all telehealth apps, doesn’t cover every condition. Some diagnoses require an in-person appointment. As far as GetMaple’s pricing goes, their expense may prove too much for those with tight finances.
GetMaple costs $49-99 per consultation, or $30 per month. However, supplemental insurance plans like Blue Cross offer at least partial coverage of these expenses.
Need more info than what is available in this GetMaple review? Check out this GetMaple Canada review to get further insight into this health platform.
All apps mentioned in this report grant virtual access to Canadian doctors. However, most don’t allow you to choose your physician – you just end up with whoever is available. Tia Health is different – this Canadian virtual clinic allows you to select your doctor beforehand.
Of course, if you’re not picky, you can see the next available physician – but it’s the ability to choose that makes Tia stand out. Like other platforms, your doctor can diagnose a range of conditions and prescribe medication. But, on this platform, you can sit back as a courier delivers your drugs straight to your door.
Their diversity of doctors is also impressive. Their professionals represent a wide range of disciplines – there’s even a veterinarian on staff. TIA’s doctors also speak multiple languages (i.e., languages other than English or French).
Best of all, if you live in Alberta, Ontario, or British Columbia, you can access their services for FREE. Just provide your provincial insurance plan number, and these consultations won’t cost you a dime. Elsewhere in Canada, you’ll pay fees starting at $30 per virtual visit.
Even brick-and-mortar clinics can see where the wind is blowing. In Ontario, the Appletree Medical Group has been seeing patients in their medical centres since 1992. In 2009, they expanded into the telemedicine space. As such, they are pioneers in this branch of health care.
Like other providers in this report, the Appletree Medical Group offers coverage for a comprehensive slate of conditions. However, this virtual platform is notable for having dentists on its staff. If you have a weird ache in your mouth, they may be able to get to the bottom of it.
Access to medical charts is another advantage of going with Appletree. After your virtual consultation, you can view your assessment and plan of action on their website. You can do the same when visiting a brick-and-mortar Appletree clinic as well.
Appletree is accessible to Ontario residents only. If you’re lucky enough to live there, though, you’ll be able to access their telehealth service for free. All you need to do is supply your OHIP number, and you’re all set.
Founded in 2016, Vancouver-based GOeVisit offers its Canadian customers access to timely, virtual doctor appointments. Users start by downloading the GOeVisit app for Android or iOS. Then, they complete a thorough questionnaire that diagnoses over 450 common illnesses and injuries. After that, the user gets a callback slot. At that time, the best available physician phones them and gets to the root of their issue.
While not all users have had a great experience with GOeVisit, most have. According to reviews left in the App Store, patients lauded this platform for quick callbacks and saving them tonnes of time.
GOeVisit parallels GetMaple’s costs upfront. This service charges individuals and families $49.95 per consultation. However, unlike their competitor, GOeVisit doesn’t their users more during weekends and overnight. GOeVisit’s subscription packages represent an excellent value as well. Individuals can buy annual coverage for $99.95 while families pay $149.95. In both plans, users get to enjoy unlimited consultations.
Not all online doctor services in Canada are Canadian-owned. In 2002, Byron Brook and Michael Gorton founded Teladoc in Dallas, Texas. That makes this company one of the longest-serving telehealth platforms in North America.
In April 2019, they entered the Canadian market, launching TelaDoc.ca. Since then, they’ve partnered with businesses and supplemental health insurance companies. If they have partnered with yours, you’ll enjoy free coverage to their network of physicians. So far, their reviews are incredible, with ratings of 4.8/5 on the App Store and 4.6/5 in the Play Store.
However, there’s a distinct difference between Teladoc and other platforms in this article – they don’t offer direct access to the consumer. To get Teladoc, your insurer or your work’s benefits package must offer it. If they do, you can set up an account with Teladoc. From there on, there is no additional expense, as your insurance/benefits cover the cost of this service.
What Do These Services Cost?
Throughout this extensive review, we’ve weighed many factors, including cost. When some folks compare online doctor service Canada, the price of a service is often the most crucial aspect. Below, we’ve pulled together the cost of the above programs in this easy-to-review table:
|Canada Online Doctor Service||Costs|
|GetMaple||· $49 per weekday consultation (7 am – Midnight)
· $79 per weekend consultation (7 am – Midnight)
· $99 per overnight consultation (Midnight – 7 am)
· $30 per month for personal memberships (30 visits per year)
· $50 per month for family memberships (50 visits per year)
|Tia Health||· Free of charge for residents of Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario
· Consultation fees start by $30/visit for residents of other provinces
|Appletree||· Free for Ontario residents (only available in Ontario)|
|GOeVisit||· $49.95 per consultation for individuals and families
· $99.95 for individual annual coverage (unlimited consultations)
· $149.95 for family annual coverage (unlimited consultations)
|Teledoc||· No additional cost (Teledoc is offered/covered through employee benefits/supplemental health insurance)|
Now, some of you might be scratching your head. Isn’t healthcare in Canada supposed to be free? You’re not the only one, as some observers have openly questioned the legality of telehealth apps. By charging for consultations, even online, critics contend these platforms are violating the Canada Health Act.
Don’t worry, though – all Canadian telehealth services in this article operate within the law. Here’s how – some provincial health authorities don’t list online consultations as a covered service. Furthermore, in provinces where the government covers telehealth, third-party operators operate within the rules. Because of this, the services listed above abide by the Canada Health Act as written.
If you have the resources to access these apps, go ahead. Not only are you legally in the clear, but you’re also helping to reduce strain on our system. That’s what the best online doctor service Canada are aiming to do, so help them out!
Consult A Physician From The Comfort Of Your Own Home
COVID-19 has forced Canadians to rethink how we access health care. Waiting rooms are now a risky/dangerous environment – as such, many of us are turning to telehealth apps.
In this review, we’ve made it easier to find the best virtual clinic for your needs. With a variety of offerings, flexible virtual doctor appointments, and affordable price points, Canada’s telehealth apps have something to offer almost every Canadian.