TORONTO, March 16, 2020 /CNW/ - Starting Tuesday, March 17, Maple, a leading virtual care platform in Canada, will provide OHIP covered online coronavirus (COVID-19) screenings with a live physician to all Ontario residents. To support physicians during the outbreak, the company will also provide its virtual clinic software to all Ontario and BC physicians free of charge, to ensure safe and stable healthcare access for their patients.
The company's online COVID-19 screening program, which will be available at getmaple.ca, enables people in Ontario with a valid OHIP card to talk to a doctor through audio or video chat about their symptoms and receive guidance on whether they need testing or emergency care. The service is expected to alleviate pressure on over burdened emergency rooms, and allow patients to safely receive screening from the comfort of their homes. After each screening visit, patients will be able to fax a summary of their results to their family physician or a local screening centre for next steps. Covered online medical visits are also available in BC for those with a valid BC Services Card.
Ontario and BC are the only provinces that currently allow doctors to see patients in this way under provincial health plans. While BC has allowed physicians to bill for healthcare consultations via video for some time, Ontario activated temporary billing codes on Friday to allow for telephone and video screening visits during the coronavirus outbreak.
"Connecting concerned patients, who are receiving conflicting information from every angle, with licensed Canadian doctors from the safety of their homes is simply the right thing to do," says Dr. Brett Belchetz, CEO and Co-Founder of Maple and a practicing ER physician. "We're already seeing a strong increase in the need for virtual health services across the country. We hope that in the coming weeks, other provincial governments will follow Ontario's example and open billing codes to allow video or telephone programs to expand across the country. It's the best way to ensure safe access to healthcare in this time of self-isolation and social distancing."
During the outbreak, the public-facing Maple platform will continue to operate 24/7 as normal across Canada, including in Ontario and BC, offering online medical visits via instant message, video, and phone. Maple's doctors are committed to maintaining their prompt response times across all provinces. This will help ensure that non-COVID-19 healthcare needs can be safely addressed throughout the outbreak.
Maple's virtual clinic platform, which is being offered to all Ontario and BC doctors free of charge during this time, will allow physicians across both provinces to rapidly launch virtual care capabilities from their home, office, or clinic. This means they'll be able to see their current patients online for concerns like chronic condition management, infections, minor injuries and much more, rather than having patients needlessly travel to the doctor's office where they might be exposed to a risk of infection. It will also help to reduce the capacity strain caused by COVID-19 screenings, which can be done swiftly via the virtual platform. With secure messaging, audio, and video chat available through the platform, doctors can provide advice, diagnoses, and prescriptions for a wide variety of conditions, all while maintaining robust medical records to support continuity of care for their patients.
About Maple Maple is a technology platform that tackles some of the world's most meaningful issues in healthcare, starting with timely and convenient access to doctors and other healthcare providers including dermatologists, psychiatrists, and oncology navigation experts. It allows patients to connect directly with doctors and specialists for medical care in minutes from their smartphone or computer 24/7, and also provides custom technology solutions for hospitals and clinics seeking to advance their delivery of care. Learn more at getmaple.ca.
For further information: For general press inquiries, contact: Katie MacKay, Director Marketing Communications, Maple, 647.771.2336, [email protected]; For inquiries from physicians & clinics, contact: Peter Forte, Director of Public Sector Business Development, Maple, [email protected]