Virtual Healthcare and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is now impacting Canadians in every province. As you navigate through this challenging time, your first priority is to ensure that your family and loved ones are safe. How do you keep your family safe? How do you keep your workers safe?
Virtual healthcare is one way to help keep you and your family safe. GroupHEALTH’s partnership with Akira, one of Canada’s leading virtual healthcare providers, gives our plan members access to anytime, anywhere healthcare using a phone, tablet or computer.
What is virtual healthcare?
Virtual healthcare allows you to use telecommunications to connect with medical professionals like doctors and nurse practitioners. This remote access is secure and confidential.
Virtual healthcare professionals can resolve approximately 50% of primary care concerns typically seen in a doctor’s office. Akira’s doctors and nurse practitioners can provide services such as:
- Assessing patients
- Diagnosing medical concerns
- Writing new prescriptions and renewing existing prescriptions
- Making referrals to other healthcare providers or specialists
- Providing medical documentation
- Helping facilitate in-person care when required
What is a pandemic?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a pandemic occurs when a virus spreads across several continents and affects a large percentage of the population. It is usually spread easily between people, and most people do not have immunity to it. The severity of the illness is not connected to whether it is deemed a “pandemic;” the spread of the disease is the deciding factor. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March, 2020 as it began spreading around the world.
Benefits to using virtual healthcare during a pandemic
Virtual healthcare is valuable during regular times, but during a pandemic, there are several advantages:
Maintain social distance
As Canadians and those around the world battle to stop or slow down the spread of COVID-19, health organizations around the world are advocating “social distancing.” This refers to keeping physical distance from other people. Because the virus is so contagious, keeping physical distance between people is the key to slowing down or stopping the spread of infection.
Because virtual healthcare uses telecommunications, patients and doctors do not physically meet. This eliminates the risk of contracting or spreading the infection between healthcare professional and patients, and between patients. It protects the safety of healthcare providers and patients.
Patients who are concerned that they have virus symptoms are able to connect with healthcare professionals for assessment without infecting others. Conversely, those who have other health issues and do not have the virus do not face the risk of contracting it from others at the doctor’s office, or from the doctor themselves.
Akira’s professionals are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is particularly important as we’ve seen many clinics and doctor’s offices close or limit patients and hours to address social distancing directives from the health authorities.
Akira is available to address possible COVID-19 health concerns anytime. Their healthcare professionals are also available for people who are in need of medical services not related to COVID-19, like diagnosing other illnesses (which are still occurring regardless of the pandemic), writing prescriptions, and more.
Accessible from abroad
Unfortunately, some Canadians may experience the COVID-19 pandemic away from home. They may have been travelling before the pandemic came to Canada, and have faced challenges coming home.
When faced with health problems while abroad, travellers can still access virtual healthcare professionals from their home country. Diagnosis, advice and medical help from home can be extremely convenient, reassuring and effective for those in a foreign country.
Akira’s COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool
Akira Virtual Healthcare has developed a COVID-19 self-assessment tool to assist people in determining if they may have COVID-19. The current situation in Canada is changing quickly, and Akira is in contact with health officials to provide patients with the most current information and advice about COVID-19. To access the self-assessment tool, please click here.
Using Akira is Easy
Akira has made it easy to access a health professional from any phone or computer. Signing up is easy, and talking to a health practitioner is fast. The doctor or nurse practitioner will help you use your phone to get the best results, including features like your phone and secure chat to get to a diagnosis.
Good Advice is Key
During these challenging times, it’s important to ensure information related to COVID-19 comes from a reputable source. Please be sure to refer to official sources such as the World Health Organization, your local health authority and government health websites.
If you have questions on how COVID-19 impacts your benefits plan, how you can add virtual healthcare to your current plan or anything else related to benefit plans, we’re here to help.