How Telemedicine Can Help with Canadian Physician Shortages
When it comes to having enough of certain medical personnel, telehealth can help. Here is how telemedicine can help with Canadian physician shortages.
Canada is dealing with serious physician shortages in a number of fields. The shortage is so bad that as many as 6.6 percent of Canadians cannot even find a family doctor.
Unfortunately, this shortage is going to have long-reaching effects in the coming years. A solid physician-to-population ratio is one of the key indicators of a population’s predicted health. Worse, Canada’s ratio is expected by many experts to worsen in the next decade.
It’s a complex problem with no easy answer. However, what’s clear is telemedicine is going to play a big part in solving this crisis. Join us today as we discuss why exactly that is.
The Basics of Telemedicine/Telehealth
Telemedicine (also called telehealth or just remote care) is a type of medical care that has been around in some form since about the beginning of telecommunication technology. In the very beginning, it was basically the equivalent of just having a phone call with a medical professional.
While that beats no care at all, modern telemedicine is a whole lot more. Modern smartphones and video technology that has really turned telemedicine from simply being able to talk with a medical professional to an experience that genuinely approaches the quality of an in-person doctor visit.
Telehealth professionals work in a wide variety of specialties; if you need something from a doctor, it is worth researching online if there is a remote option.
The tools remote doctor visits require are usually pretty simple. Often just a smartphone (and/or webcam) and an internet connection will suffice. Some practices may also need you to download an app or access a website, but it won’t be much harder than that.
Telemedicine Combats Physician Shortages & More
There are a few benefits to telemedicine that bear serious discussion, especially with Canada now dealing with two medical crises in the form of COVID-19 and their physician shortage.
Remote care obviously means a patient doesn’t have to physically meet their doctor. This essentially completely erases any chance of infection for either party. Even if in-person doctor visits have value, this is a pretty critical benefit during a pandemic.
Telemedicine also has the huge benefit of giving even those living in the most rural parts of Canada access to a doctor. Telemedicine doctors aren’t region-locked beyond any limitations set by law and requiring patients to have internet access.
If you live in a region that has been impacted by the physician shortage (or just don’t like the options in your area), then remote visits allow you access to a much greater variety of doctors. This is obviously a big plus for those struggling to find a local doctor (with some rural citizens possibly not having one around for dozens of miles).
The barrier of access to remote care is low and evidence makes it clear that telemedicine visits are legitimately helpful. It is an excellent option for the elderly, who often find travel difficult and are at a higher risk of infection.
Is Telemedicine Right for You?
Remote care obviously doesn’t work for everything. If your treatment is likely to require laboratory tests or thorough physical examination, you may have to see a doctor in person. There are also certain controlled medications that can’t be prescribed without an in-person visit to the doctor.
For most routine care (and even several instances of more specialized care), it can work as a wonderful, convenient alternative to a traditional doctor’s visit. If both options are available to you, you may want to consider the option with a lower chance of infection and which lets you stay at home!
Telemedicine is the perfect solution for those bound to their home or who otherwise cannot find a doctor nearby.
Some other common ways in which telemedicine can often help include:
- Mental health assessments
- Minor infection assessments
- Routine prescribing/prescription renewal
- Some types of therapy, such as speech therapy
You also don’t need to worry about telehealth professionals cheating you. So long as you are getting help from a reputable practice, they’ll freely admit when they don’t think they can safely treat you remotely. If you can’t get the care you need through telemedicine, they can give you advice on the best course of action.
Scheduling an Appointment
If you’re interested in contacting a telemedicine doctor or specialist, we at YesMD have made it very easy. Just go over to our New Patients page, create an account, and get started!
You will quickly be able to get in contact with one of our many medical professionals, who will help get you the care you need. This isn’t just some robotic, cookie-cutter service either; doctors understand talking to patients, and truly understanding them is the key to great service.
We do our best to cover a wide array of potential patient needs as thoroughly as we can safely manage! We offer mental health services, pediatric services, and more. The list of what we can help treat is simply too long to repeat here.
Facing the Shortage Together
Physician shortages in Canada don’t seem like they will be going away any time soon. As the ratio worsens, it is going to become increasingly difficult to schedule a traditional doctor’s visit.
Services like ours at YesMD help to make sure Canadians can still access the healthcare services their taxes are paying for! You deserve to be able to talk to a doctor and we’ll make sure you can.
The physician shortage in Canada has caused many people’s healthcare to suffer. Let us help you. Our services are even completely covered for British Columbia and Alberta residents!