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Trends & Free Resources in Digital, Virtual & Telehealth Care for British Columbia
As society navigates COVID19 and embraces the new norms of social distancing and virtual meetings, the way we access healthcare has possibly changed forever.
While many virtual options have long been available, people are adopting these at an increased rate out of necessity, and providers are responding to the demand with upgrades and new systems. Healthcare providers have rapidly adapted to providing services to patients, from inside the safety of their homes, many tailored to the health situations the pandemic has triggered or exacerbated. As well, during this time, many providers are stepping up to provide free resources.
We compiled a list of services, as well as other related information sources. As coverage varies from province to province, this article focuses on services available to those in British Columbia.
Free Mental Health Support
The need for mental health support has never been greater. The impacts of the coronavirus are not only for those who have been infected. We are all dealing with uncertainty, fear, social isolation, as well as financial stress burnout, anxiety, depression- the list goes one. Accessing support can be done virtually:
- Thrive Health App (Free for download): COVID19 Self Assessment Tool / Stats / Symptom Tracker: https://www.thrive.health/canada-covid19-app
- Starling Minds: Digital mental health therapy for COVID-19 anxiety. https://info.starlingminds.com/covid19-free-mental-health
- Wellness Together Canada: Government of Canada free online resources, tools, apps and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals https://ca.portal.gs/
- Inkblot: Online therapy through video conferencing, with over 200 therapists that you can book sessions with. The first visits are free and sessions thereafter cost $37.50 per 30 minute of individual counselling. https://inkblottherapy.com/
- Talkspace: During COVID19, Talkspace offers free therapist led sessions via Facebook support groups. https://www.talkspace.com/covid-resources
- Abestos Free Mental Health Guide: Abestos offers a free guide on Mental Health and Mesothelioma : Mental Health and Mesothelioma | Coping, Treatment & Support (asbestos.com)
Virtual Specialist Care through your benefits plan:
Many insurance carriers are now covering claims for virtual therapist and specialist care which may include:
- Registered counselling
- Psychological services
- Naturopathic services
- Chiropractic services
Check with your specific carrier to confirm which ones they may cover, as well as if your chosen therapist provides online care.
On-Demand Medical / Virtual Doctor
- Pocket pills: Free to use online prescription fulfilment (no extra charges on top of usual cost of prescription), Can transfer your existing prescription. Easy. https://www.pocketpills.com
- Babylon by TELUS: The Babylon app is free to download and use. In BC, our provincial medical plan (MSP) covers doctor consultations on this platform, from your phone, right in your own home.
- tiaHealth: Another online doctor service that can provide advice, referrals, requisitions, mental health support and more. Doctor consultations are covered under MSP. https://tiahealth.com/
- Medimap: Medimap provides access to a doctor virtually, nearly instantly. It also includes a handy tool that advises on the wait time for walk-in clinics, should you need to see a doctor in person. https://medimap.ca/VirtualCare
Employee Assistance Programs:
Most employer sponsored extended health programs include some basic form of EAP. EAP providers have easy online access for their services. Check with your Employer on how to access your EAP.
In addition, most of the major EAP providers have free resources online. In particular, Morneau Shepell’s Toolkit for Individuals has a wealth or resources available for free. https://www.morneaushepell.com/ca-en/toolkit-individuals
For more details on how an EAP can help you, check out our article on http://www.immixgroup.ca/EAP.html
There are countless virtual options available to you. We encourage you to research the provider and ensure you are accessing qualified professionals, and that where possible, the services are free or covered under provincial or extended medical plans.
If you have any questions on digital healthcare, maximizing your digital benefits, or how to best restructure your benefits for optimal value, feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org