Telehealth options for Canadians looking to save time and gas

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The pandemic has helped drive more traffic to virtual options for everything from prescription refills to therapy

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Telehealth in Canada dates back to 2006, however, few Canadians are aware of the services available to them.

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One of the reasons for our lack of knowledge could be that only 4% of physicians offered virtual video visits to their patients in 2019.

Other telehealth services began to emerge in Canada a few years before the pandemic, but the pandemic leads to their accelerated growth.

Although some options are privatized, which incurs additional costs, the price may be worth it if you are looking to save time and gas. Private options may also be worth considering if your job does not provide medical coverage, especially if you are a concert or contractual.

Here are 12 leading telehealth providers in Canada who can provide physical and mental health support.

OTR

Background: Founded in 2006, the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) is one of the largest telemedicine networks in the world.

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Services: In addition to specialist advice, OTN offers retinal screening for diabetes and a palliative care program.

OTN also offers self-managed virtual care, such as Mental Health coaching and support for gambling addiction.

Costs: OTN is a not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Ontario.

Tia Health

Background: Tia Health was founded in 2018.

Services: In addition to regular e-visits, Tia has specialists in areas such as dermatology, pediatrics, psychiatry, physiotherapy and medical cannabis clearance.

Tia has also partnered with several pharmacies to allow patients to get a prescription from a pharmacy near them.

Costs: Tia Health is free in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta with a valid health card. However, fees start at $30 elsewhere in Canada.

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Maple

Background: Launched in 2016 by an emergency doctor who diagnoses his friends by SMS.

Services: Maple, which also has an application, has an expensive list of specialists.

Patients can get support from experts in areas such as dermatology, mole mapping, COVID-19 testing, psychotherapy, allergy and immunology.

Costs: Prices start at $49 per visit on weekdays and $79 per visit on weekends and holidays.

There is also the option of a monthly payment of $30, which can guarantee 30 visits per year with a GP.

Virtual Clinics+

Background: Launched in March 2020 by WELL Health Technologies Corp. WELL also acquired INSIG Corp., a leading virtual care platform in Canada, which owns and operates the Tia Health Virtual Clinic Group.

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This means that WELL owns both Tia and VritualClinics+.

Services: As you might guess from the name, VirtualClinics+ provides online walk-in clinic services.

Costs: It’s free for residents of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario with a valid health card. However, costs for residents outside of these three provinces start at $30.

My TELUS Health care

Background: TELUS Health MyCare, a mobile application, was launched in 2019.

Services: TELUS was created to serve Canadians who do not have a family doctor or those who require after-hours medical care.

Patients can also make appointments with a mental health counselor and dietitians.

Costs: Virtual doctor consultations are available for all residents of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan, in addition to employees covered by TELUS Health MyCare Business.

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Alternatively, patients without provincial health insurance in those provinces can access virtual consultations for $70 each.

GOeVisit

Background: Founded in 2016, the GOeVist app allows patients to describe their symptoms using their phone, tablet or computer.

Patients can also receive diagnosis and treatment from a Canadian doctor.

Services: GOeVisit can diagnose, treat and prescribe treatments for over 450 minor illnesses such as the common cold.

The platform can also provide support for minor injuries and pediatric care.

In June 2021, GoeVisit – owned by MyCare MedTech Inc. – added mental health services to its medical consultation platform.

Costs: For Canadian residents, it’s $10 per month or $99 annually for unlimited visits. For families, it’s $15 per month or $149 per year.

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People can also pay as they go, for $49.50 per visit. The rate of $49.50 per visit also applies for those who are not Canadian citizens.

Felix

Background: Founded in 2019, Felix provides online physician access and prescription delivery through its end-to-end telehealth treatment service.

Felix also launched mental health services in 2021.

Services: Félix offers services for sexual health, daily health and mental health.

Sexual health care ranges from contraception to treating problems such as cold sores and sexually transmitted infections.

Daily health includes treating acne, allergies, hair loss and migraines.

The new mental health service deals with anxiety and depression.

Patients can also obtain prescriptions with up to one year renewal.

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Costs: The online visit fee is $40.

Health coverage

Background: Founded in 2019, Cover Health is a walk-in virtual clinic.

Services: Patients register and enter a digital queue to speak with a doctor.

The virtual clinic is open seven days a week and has specialists in fertility, physiotherapy, dermatology and diabetes.

Costs: It’s free in Ontario. Additionally, non-OHIP cardholders can also receive free care as long as they live in Ontario.

Focus on mental well-being

Background: HASU eCounselling Support was created in 2016, to be renamed Focus Mental Wellness.

Services: Focusmw.com allows patients to select a therapist for virtual consultations and pay online.

Costs: Video and phone sessions start at $95 per hour. Text therapy costs $29 per week.

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MindBeacon

Background: MindBeacon was launched in 2017.

In 2021, MindBeacon was relaunched to provide people with more comprehensive digital mental health and customizable support.

Services: MindBeacon allows patients to work one-on-one with their therapist for up to 12 weeks and access resources for up to a year.

MindBeacon’s therapist-guided program is rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT is recommended for social anxiety, stress management, depression, insomnia, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Costs: It’s free for Ontario residents thanks to government funding. Individual plans can be purchased from providers such as SureHealth or CoverMe.

Ink stain

Background: Launched in 2018, Inkblot Therapy aims to remedy the six to nine months the wait times that many mental health patients endure to see a specialist.

Services: Inkblot offers therapy for issues such as depression, anxiety, grief, stress, substance abuse disorder, postpartum depression and anxiety, eating disorder, eating disorder, post-traumatic stress and ADHD.

Costs: The first session is free. Subsequent half-hour sessions are $37.50.

This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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