Ontario Healthcare Goes Virtual

Healthcare is one of the most essential services that promote human welfare. Unfortunately, there has been a major challenge in adhering to doctor’s appointments in Ontario, Canada. In fact, according to Reid (2017), a poll that was conducted by Ipsos revealed that 68% of Canadians have missed a doctor’s appointment at least once. The reasons that were given for missing the appointments included unfavorable time-schedules and long waiting time.

Bearing in mind that those patients who are not critically ill have to factor in the time that they spend visiting hospitals in their daily routines, it becomes hard for them to comply with the fixed time-frames within which their doctors schedule their appointments. In this case, most people have been ending up missing doctor’s appointments to attend to other commitments. Therefore, Maple has intervened to offer a solution to this challenge by providing 24/7 virtual healthcare services. According to Brett Belchetz, the Chief Executive Officer of Maple, the virtual healthcare services are aimed at responding to patients’ needs at their convenient times.

Pros and Cons of Maple Services

Maple is the first virtual platform to offer access to family physicians by patients on a 24/7 basis through virtual appointments. However, the platform also has its own flip side. First, Brett Belchetz made it clear to his audiences that Maple is a technological platform rather than a healthcare service provider. This means that all what the platform does is to link patients with physicians for virtual appointments at any given time. In addition, bearing in mind that the Canada Health Care Act does not accommodate aspects of virtual healthcare, the burden of paying for Maple services lies entirely on the patients. This means that although the establishment of Maple was perceived as good news by the residents of Ontario, they have to pay for the telemedicine services by themselves since they are not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Cost of Maple Appointments

Maple charges for appointments based on two main factors that include day of booking and the specified time. Each appointment that is made on a weekday costs $49 while those made on weekends cost $79 each. In addition, any appointment scheduled to take place between midnight and 8 AM costs $99 (Reid 2017).

Maple has played an important role in providing residents of Ontario with an opportunity to make virtual appointments with physicians at any given time. However, the patients have to cater for their telemidecine expenses by themselves since the existing legislation does not recognize virtual healthcare.

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