Well-designed telehealth programs can improve health care access and outcomes.
Telemedicine is not an entirely new concept in Canada — essentially, it means that you can receive care remotely through electronic and telecommunication technologies (in simple terms, through your phone or computer). These paid services can be through video conferencing or digital messaging, but it typically has to happen in real time.
With Felix, a telemedicine provider, you receive care asynchronously. This simply means you and a healthcare practitioner don’t need to be in the same place at the same time. The Felix model provides you the freedom to reach out via secure messaging whenever is convenient for you — whether it’s on the streetcar, lying in bed at 2 a.m., or during a quick lunch break.
The field of telemedicine has changed drastically since its inception. It was only about fifty years ago that a few hospitals started experimenting with telemedicine to reach patients in remote locations. But with the rapid changes in technology over the last few decades, telemedicine has transformed into a complex integrated service used in hospitals, homes, private physician offices, and other healthcare facilities.
Telemedicine was originally created as a way to treat patients who were located in remote places, far away from local health facilities or in areas with shortages of medical professionals. While telemedicine is still used today to address these problems, it’s increasingly becoming a tool for convenient medical care. Today’s connected patient wants to waste less time in the waiting room at the doctor, and get immediate care for minor but urgent conditions when they need it.
This expectation for more convenient care, combined with the ever growing burden on medical professionals (especially primary care providers) have led to the rise of telemedicine as an increasingly trusted means of accessing healthcare.
This remote model of care effectively moves the medical consultation between healthcare practitioner and patient out of the examination room and onto a digital platform — solving for the complications that geography can pose.
At Felix, you fill out a short online quiz aka ‘online visit’ and then one of our healthcare practitioners reviews it to determine if you are eligible for a prescription. This is all done on a secure, PHIPA-compliant digital platform, which means only the doctor can see your health information. If you’re eligible, a Felix doctor will issue a prescription and an accredited pharmacy will be notified to fill and ship the medication. You would then receive your prescription delivered discreetly to your door within two days and thereafter on a recurring, subscription-style basis.
The Felix approach is more than that. In addition to the anytime/anywhere benefit, there is added discretion using the platform, as some may find it awkward or uncomfortable to talk about their personal health face-to-face. Also when you complete an online assessment for a specific ailment (ie. birth control) on Felix, you’re taken through a personalized and highly tailored experience developed by some of Canada’s top medical specialists and pharmacologists.
Even though you’re not interacting with someone in real-time, a Felix healthcare practitioner reviews your request and the platform offers you the ability to securely message them with any questions or concerns you may have. And the same goes for the practitioner — they can reach out to you to follow up on anything that will help them make their decision about your treatment.
It’s totally understandable to feel unsure about the treatment you’re receiving when you’re not seeing a doctor face-to-face. But with Felix, there is consistency and predictability when completing an online visit since the experience has been standardized for each ailment — so it’s the same experience each and every time. And there is added accountability because you have to answer each medical question to get to the next and the healthcare practitioner has to review every question in order to provide a treatment plan.
Rather than a doctor needing to remember to ask and record a laundry list of questions in real time, those questions are handled in the Felix online visit and the results are organized for the healthcare practitioner, so they can focus their time and energy on making a decision based on your unique health profile and medical history. When you go to a walk-in clinic or talking to a random doctor through traditional telemedicine services the level and quality of care differs each time with each provider.
The Felix model doesn’t just benefit the patient: it’s better for healthcare practitioners, clinics, and the broader Canadian healthcare system. We at Felix believe it can help alleviate the immense pressure healthcare practitioners are facing and reduce wait times for those who need in-person attention the most.
Everyone should have access to high-value care — and through Felix, users can quickly, easily, and safely access the healthcare they need to improve their quality of life.
The views expressed here are those of the author and, as with the rest of the content on Health Guide, are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare practitioner.