British Columbia has been praised for its effective response to the pandemic. But many aspects of life have still been impacted, including regular access to care.
According to a recent study by Nanos Research and TELUS Health, a third of British Columbians have delayed medical care for themselves or their loved ones due to fear of exposure to COVID-19.
Virtual care tools, such as Babylon by TELUS Health, are on the rise, providing safe, convenient access to care that complements existing health services. In fact, more than three in five BC residents had a phone or video call with their family physician during the pandemic, and over half said they would use virtual care services even after the pandemic subsides.
Still, more than half are eager to learn more about virtual care. With 74 per cent of British Columbians concerned that a second wave of the virus will impact their ability to receive care, it’s important for them to better understand how these services work.
“The pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty,” said Dr. Sarah Olson, BC family physician. “When used to its full potential, virtual care will help give families more access to the care and support they need, reassuring them in the face of a potential second wave.”
Particularly helpful for those without a family doctor or who have trouble accessing a healthcare provider, Babylon by TELUS Health allows British Columbians to check their symptoms and quickly connect with a BC-licensed physician even during evenings, weekends and holidays. Through the app, BC residents can receive care for respiratory symptoms, skin conditions, or even anxiety and depression, as well as get referrals for any necessary diagnostic testing or specialist appointments, and have prescriptions filled, all through their smartphones.
Dr. Olson recommends these tips to make the most of a virtual appointment:
- Register in advance - Register via virtual care tools, such as Babylon by TELUS Health, in advance of any health issues or concerns, ensuring the service is ready to go as soon as you need it.
- Gather personal health information - Complete your profile with your medical history, current medications or allergies, and list your symptoms when booking your appointment so the physician has enough information to make an accurate assessment.
- Secure a private setting- Consider conducting the virtual session in a quiet, private setting that offers the same level of confidentiality as a physician’s office.
- Share consultation notes- If you have a family doctor, add your physician’s name and contact information to your profile to have your virtual consultation notes shared directly with them.