Accessing virtual healthcare

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, people were increasingly accessing virtual healthcare through their mobile devices or computers for a number of reasons, primarily due to ease of use and real-time convenience.

According to a 2018 Medisys Health Group study, in collaboration with Edelman and LegerWeb:
Participants said the biggest benefits of virtual care are access to care during late hours and weekends (67%), convenience (66%), avoiding increasing wait times at urgent care during late hours for minor health problems (62%), less time missed at work (47%), more regular visits with a healthcare professional (45%) and less stress (29%).

Virtual healthcare for people living with T1D has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and other diabetes related complications. Insulin pumps, CGM and Flash GM technology are also helping to facilitate the transition to virtual care. Members of diabetes care teams can access patient blood glucose data remotely and securely. This access to real-time data via glucose monitoring devices as well as 14-day, 30-day and 90-day trends is leading to improved interventions and better self-management of diabetes. Remote access to data also means healthcare professionals can check in with patients more often, and appointments can occur virtually.

Virtual care has the potential to save both time and money and aligns with the government’s approach to reduce in person visits. This is another reason why JDRF advocates for universal device coverage across the country for both advanced glucose monitors and insulin pumps.

See below for a full listing of virtual healthcare providers in your province:

Virtual Care in BC:

  • Specific Information at Health Link BC
  • BCDiabetes Virtual Consults
    • Access via a browser based video call. Have to contact to check qualification if they live in BC but are outside the greater Vancouver area, however they welcome patients from out of province if referred by a Canadian Physician. No charges for routine diabetes care for BC residents, or Canadian out-of-province clients (except Quebec). For out-of-country patients, or those without a GP referral, patients will be billed for private payment.
  • Virtual Care Services
    • Includes video appointments (smartphone, tablet, or computer), appointment booking, and secure messaging with access to test results. For the telehealth option, regardless of where they are from on Vancouver Island (telehealth is also offered across BC), healthcare providers determine if telehealth is a suitable care delivery option for the patients. Note, there is a map on the website with all telehealth location on Vancouver Island. Costs may vary according to type of virtual care, duration, and specific requirements.
  • WELL Health VirtualClinics+ (BC, Ontario, and Alberta)
    • Costs of the visits are covered in BC, Ontario, and Alberta for those who have a valid health card. Patients across Canada can receive care, however outside of BC, Ontario, and Alberta, the telehealth appointments would start at $30. For the appointment, patients can connect via phone, video, or secure messaging on any device without the need of downloading an app.
  • Viva Care Telehealth
    • In BC no matter where you live, you are eligible for telehealth at no cost, however there is a $50 no show fee. Appointments can be booked for either phone or video.
  • Tia Health (BC, Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec)
    • Can be accessed by anyone in Canada, however in BC, Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec for those who have a valid health card. For the appointment, patients can connect via phone, video, or secure messaging on any device.
  • Get Maple MSP
    • MSP covers the cost of the video visits for anyone in BC. The MSP covered visits occur weekdays from 7am to 6pm PT. To register, use the Maple app to talk to physicians, and to set up appointments. Appointments can be by video or phone.

Virtual Care in Alberta:

  • Specific Information at: Telehealth | Alberta Health Services
  • WELL Health VirtualClinics+ (BC, Ontario, and Alberta)
    • Costs of the visits are covered in BC, Ontario, and Alberta for those who have a valid health card. Patients across Canada can receive care, however outside of BC, Ontario, and Alberta, the telehealth appointments would start at $30. For the appointment, patients can connect via phone, video, or secure messaging on any device without the need of downloading an app.
  • Get Maple Alberta
    • The AHCIP does not cover virtual health care, however some private health insurance plans do. For anyone living in Alberta costs for visits depend on the time of day, starting at $49. Visits can be accessed via phone, tablet, or computer.
  • AHS Virtual Health
    • Available to all Albertans, especially those of which who are in self-isolation, unable to attend the AHS clinic or facility, living in rural and remote areas, or when the patient and physician can not be in the same location.
  • Tia Health (BC, Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec)
    • Can be accessed by anyone in Canada, however in BC, Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec for those who have a valid health card. For the appointment, patients can connect via phone, video, or secure messaging on any device. For video calls, zoom will be used. No information on the costs.

Virtual Care in Saskatchewan:

  • Lumeca
    • For anyone living in Saskatchewan with a valid Saskatchewan health card, lumeca offers free virtual health appointments. For the appointments, chat, video, and phone can be used.
  • Get Maple Saskatchewan
    • Saskatchewan does not cover virtual health care, however some private health insurance plans do. Visits through the app can be by video or audio chat via phone, tablet, or computer.
  • University of Saskatchewan
    • Offered by the University of Saskatchewan to the faculty and staff, as well as their spouses and dependents. To access these services, you must be physically in Canada. The appointments can be accessed through either video, audio, or text chat. There is no mention of costs on the site.

Virtual Care in Manitoba:

  • Doctors Manitoba
    • Both phone visits and video visits are available for patients. For anyone in Manitoba, the costs of these visits will vary on duration, and type of visit needed.
  • Get Maple
    • Manitoba does not cover virtual health care, however a lot of private health insurance plans do. Visits through the app can be by video or audio chat via phone, tablet, or computer.
  • Tia Health
    • Anyone in Manitoba with a valid health card is able to book an appointment by phone, video, or chat messaging. As Manitoba does not cover the cost of virtual health care, these visits will start at $30.
  • Sabe Wellness
    • Anyone in Manitoba is able to book an appointment. Appointments can be by either the Medo app or a simple booking form (1 day response time). There is no mention about pricing.

Virtual Care in Ontario:

  • WELL Health VirtualClinics+ (BC, Ontario, and Alberta)
    • Costs of the visits are covered in BC, Ontario, and Alberta for those who have a valid health card. Patients across Canada can receive care, however outside of BC, Ontario, and Alberta, the telehealth appointments would start at $30. For the appointment, patients can connect via phone, video, or secure messaging on any device without the need of downloading an app.
  • Tia Health (BC, Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec)
    • Can be accessed by anyone in Canada, however in BC, Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec for those who have a valid health card.
  • OTN
    • Anyone in Ontario can use the OTN services. OTN services are free for patients through their healthcare provider. Patients can access the video meetings through their computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Appletree Medical Group
    • Services are available for all Ontario residents with a valid health card. There is no mention of pricing.
  • Cover Health
    • OHIP covers the cost of visits for everyone in Ontario. If a resident is in Ontario, but does not have a valid OHIP card, they are still able to receive care for no charge. Appointments are by phone, as the doctor will call the patients.
  • Get Maple Ontario
    • OHIP does not cover maple, however a lot of private health insurance plans do. Visits through the app can be by video or audio chat via phone, tablet, or computer.
  • Meira Care
    • Patients can visit with the doctor by phone call, video call, or a secure chat. OHIP covers 100% of the cost of visits for all Ontario residents.

Virtual Care in Quebec:

  • Specific Information at: Telehealth
  • Tia Health (BC, Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec)
    • Can be accessed by anyone in Canada, however in BC, Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec for those who have a valid health card.
  • Telemedicine – Québec Blue Cross
    • Appointments can be attended via the app on an iPhone, Android, or computer. Anyone in Quebec can have access to the care, however there is no mention of cost.
  • Get Maple Quebec
    • RAMQ does not cover maple, however a lot of private health insurance plans do. Visits through the app can be by video or audio chat via phone, tablet, or computer.

Virtual Care in Newfoundland and Labrador:

Virtual Care in Nova Scotia:

  • Specific information at: Canada.ca
  • Virtual care
    • Care is available for individuals who live in Western or Northern zones and who are registered on the Need a Family Practice Registry. The appointment, as well as other information can be accessed through the VirtualCareNS app. There is no information on pricing.
  • Virtual Care
    • Care is available to all people living in Nova Scotia. Most fees are covered by Virtual Care Nova Scotia, however, depending on the case there may be some additional fees such as premium fees. Technology for video calls is required.
  • Get Maple Nova Scotia
    • MSI does not cover maple, however a lot of private health insurance plans do. Visits through the app can be by video or audio chat via phone, tablet, or computer.
  • Tia Health
    • For people living in Halifax, the costs of the appointments start at $30. Appointments can be accessed through phone, video, or chat messaging.

Virtual Care in PEI:

  • Virtual Health Care for Islanders without a Primary Care Provider
    • People who are currently on the provincial patient registry are eligible for virtual care. Appointments are available, free of cost, on any device that is capable to hold a video call.
  • Get Maple PEI
    • Health PEI does not cover maple, however a lot of private health insurance plans do. Visits through the app can be by video or audio chat via phone, tablet, or computer.

Virtual Care in New Brunswick:

  • eVisitNB | Maple(Same as maple, as this is run through maple)
  • Get Maple NB
    • Medicare does not cover maple, however a lot of private health insurance plans do. Visits through the app can be by video or audio chat via phone, tablet, or computer.
  • Access Point Health
    • Patients across New Brunswick have to pay rates, which differ depending on the time of day or week. A device is needed to run a video meeting.

Virtual Care in Nunavut:

Virtual Care in The Northwest Territories:

  • Specific Information at: NWT Virtual Care
  • Specific Information at: Telehealth
  • Get Maple Northwest Territories
    • The NWT health care plan does not cover maple, however a lot of private health insurance plans do. Visits through the app can be by video or audio chat via phone, tablet, or computer.

Virtual Care in Yukon:

National Links:

How can the T1D community use Virtual care, and what are some of the benefits: What to Know About Telehealth for Type 1 Diabetes

  • If you have any questions about your type 1 diabetes, you can make an appointment and get answers from home
  • Since there are sites such as carelink (Medtronic), you can review your blood sugars, basal rates, and other insulin settings from home.
  • This won’t be a full replacement to in person visits with your endocrinologist are still needed every so often, as tests such A1C need to be done in person.
  • Some of the benefits include:
    • Less travel and costs associated with travel
    • Could access healthcare providers more frequently, with more ease
    • More flexibility with times possibly
  • There are some negatives however, including:
    • Bad internet connection
    • Insurance in some provinces and territories do not cover the virtual care yet
    • Physical exams, and lab work can’t be done virtually