Could “the doctor is in” come to mean that the doctor is on a computer screen in your own home? According to CTV News, this is becoming an increasingly popular concept all across Canada.
Virtual office home calls, also known as “telemedicine,” are now a part of daily practice in eight provinces and territories across the country. Instead of visiting in person, patients book time with a physician who is working out of a virtual office suite. For the most part, the service is used for visits involving minor problems, ailments, or prescription renewals.
There are many advantages to be gained through using a virtual office setup. For one, it can help reduce the amount of time people otherwise have to take in getting to a doctor. In more isolated communities, or for individuals who need a specialist’s care, help might be an hours-long drive away, making it often impractical for people to visit a doctor’s office for non-emergency care.
According to family doctor Sanjeev Goel, who recently started to use the process, “Everyone I’ve encountered as a patient has been just overwhelmed by how amazing it is.” One virtual office service, Medeo, says it has over 400 doctors signed up for its service in British Columbia alone, and they report that over 200 new patients sign up with their service every day.
Stan Morrison is a patient who suffers with Lou Gehrig’s disease, a degenerative neurological disorder. He says that telemedicine has helped to make a difficult process much more simple. With the disorder, it’s hard for him to get dressed, drive and park to see a specialist, and he can now do all that, and receive new prescriptions, from the comfort of his home.
Now that telemedicine and virtual office solutions are becoming more popular, British Columbia is looking to review the practice and make sure that the system is functioning in a way that assists patients, and to make sure the system isn’t being abused.
If you needed to see a doctor, would you consider the option of virtual office solutions? Let us know in the comments.