Is Virtual Medicine right for you?
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Access to health care is an important issue affecting Canadians nationwide, and access has become ever more challenging with the advent of COVID-19. Surgeries have been put on hold, doctor's offices and hospitals have become overburdened, and patients seeking various forms of health care are continuously asked to stay home. I can imagine the frustration and anguish many people are feeling right now, because I feel it too. I worry that millions of Canadians are feeling neglected and that their health concerns are being held hostage by the sociocultural implications of the pandemic. There are immeasurable consequences of placing entire cities on lockdown, especially regarding those with mental health concerns and chronic conditions.
Fortunately, there is a solution that may be appropriate for you and your loved ones. Virtual medicine, also called virtual health care or telemedicine, is an appointment with your health care professional that happens securely from your computer or even from your phone. Virtual medical visits with naturopathic doctors are covered by most insurance plans. There are obvious advantages and disadvantages of virtual medicine:
Advantages of virtual medicine:
You can have an appointment with your naturopathic doctor from the comfort of your own home while staying safe from the dangers of COVID-19.
Appointment times are more flexible; virtual medicine appointments can be made in the evenings and on weekends!
As a virtual medicine patient, you do not need to register for any new websites or download new software, you are simply provided a link to click on.
Lab requisitions and other resources can be securely shared between doctor and patient.
Disadvantages of virtual medicine
Virtual medicine is meant to complement to your health care and does not serve as a total replacement. If your case requires a physical exam (ie. your lungs or heart) then it is still recommended to seek an in-person exam after your virtual appointment.
Virtual medicine is largely dependent upon the internet connection of both the patient and doctor. Wifi connections, hardware, and software can all be temperamental from time to time.
If the benefits of virtual medicine outweigh the risks, then I strongly recommend that you consider booking a virtual appointment during these difficult times. It is very important that you prioritize yourself and your health.