Telehealth options by province

Telehealth can improve health outcomes and accessibility for remote patients across Canada.

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Female doctor consulting with patient over smartphone

We’ll continue updating this page with resources and information as new details emerge on how Canadian leaders and businesses are responding to COVID-19.

Telehealth delivers healthcare and medical services to patients through video or phone call appointments across the country. This benefits many Canadians who live remotely or have illnesses or disabilities that prevent them from being able to travel to see a doctor. It also allows doctors to see more patients without having to commute between clinics.

Since the beginning of March, telehealth services have also been used to address the concerns many Canadians have about coronavirus (COVID-19). Many provinces have set up special telehealth lines to make sure citizens can access information about the virus without having to risk exposure by visiting overloaded clinics and hospitals.

Use this guide to find out more about how you can use telehealth services to get access to medical advice and to stay informed during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also scroll down to access a comprehensive list of telehealth services for your province.

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is a provincial medical service offered to remote patients or those with accessibility issues in Canada. Outside of consultations, this type of technology has been implemented across the country to give patients access to the following:

  • Monitoring. Allows doctors to monitor vital signs remotely for certain patients, such as a cardiac patient in need of heart monitoring.
  • Prescriptions. Gives doctors and nurses the ability to write prescriptions remotely, especially for patients who need regular refills on medication.
  • Information sharing. Allows medical professionals to share vital information and important medical details with their patients and other clinics.
  • Diagnosis. Provides doctors with visual evidence for diagnosis (such as an ophthalmologist being able to diagnose an eye condition via Skype).

How has telehealth been expanded to deal with the coronavirus pandemic?

The provision of telehealth services is the responsibility of provincial governments, so the way each service has been expanded in response to coronavirus will vary by province. For example, BC and Ontario have invested a significant amount of money into telehealth to deal with the influx of questions and concerns over COVID-19.

This service is available to anyone who wants more information from a licensed medical practitioner about COVID-19. It’s also available to help screen people who may have been infected with the virus. You can access most provincial telehealth services by dialling 811 on your phone.

You may also be able to sign up for a private telehealth service using a mobile app. This will often require you to pay a monthly subscription or a fee for every appointment you book. Some clinicians are also not taking coronavirus-related appointments through these services.

How can I access telehealth services in my province

Most provinces across Canada offer telehealth networks funded by the provincial government. This service can be reached in any province by dialling 811 on your mobile phone (or by calling the toll-free number listed below for each province). Many provinces also have private telehealth services that you can access for a fee.

Telehealth BC

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
Healthlink BCCall 811Dial 811 to speak to a licensed medical practitioner, with translation services available in over 130 languages.Free
virtualclinic+Online bookingBook an appointment with a doctor online and request your choice of phone call or video.Free
Tia HealthOnline bookingSchedule a time with the doctor of your choice, and speak directly to them using phone, video or instant messaging.Free
Viva CareOnline bookingBook a videoconference with a doctor using an online booking system (free for BC residents).Free

Telehealth Alberta

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
Alberta HealthlinkCall 811Dial 811 to get free 24/7 access to general health information from a registered nurse.Free
BabylonMobile appDownload the app to book an appointment with a doctor and get medical advice from the comfort of your own home.Free
PurposeMedOnline bookingBook an appointment online and request your choice of phone call or video.Free
Tia HealthOnline bookingSlot yourself in for a remote doctor’s appointment for a small fee.$30+ per visit

Telehealth Saskatchewan

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
Saskatchewan Health LineCall 811Dial 811 to get answers to any health-related questions you may have or to get a referral to another service.Free
eHealth SaskatchewanOnline bookingBook a doctor’s appointment using your existing my eHealth account.Free
LumecaMobile appSchedule a time with the doctor of your choice, and speak directly to them using phone, video or instant messaging.Free
mapleOnline bookingSign up to get access to online doctors, virtual health and prescriptions.$30 per month
Tia HealthOnline bookingBook a remote appointment in Saskatchewan for a small fee.$30+ per visit

Telehealth Manitoba

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
HealthLinksCall 1-888-315-9257Call to speak with a registered nurse about any issues or health concerns you might have.Free
MB TelehealthCall 1-866-999-9698Call MB Telehealth’s toll-free number for more information on how to book an appointment with a doctor.Free
GOeVisitMobile appConnect with medical practitioners using any mobile device; securely, privately and confidentially.$10 per month

Telehealth Ontario

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
Ontario TelehealthCall 1-866-797-0000Call for support, advice or information about your medical problems from a licensed nurse.Free
Tia HealthOnline bookingFind a doctor and book an appointment for free with a valid OHIP card.Free
virtualclinic+Online bookingBook an appointment online and request your choice of phone call or video.$30+
mapleOnline bookingSign up to get access to online doctors, virtual health and prescriptions.$30 per month

Telehealth Quebec

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
Info-SantéCall 811Speak with a registered nurse over the phone about any medical problems you may have questions about.Free
Clinique GOOnline bookingPay a fee to speak with a medical or mental health practitioner.Starting from $95
mapleOnline bookingRegister for a monthly membership with maple to get easy access to doctor appointments.$30 per month

Telehealth New Brunswick

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
Tele-Care New BrunswickCall 811Get instant access to medical advice and information from a registered nurse.Free
Horizon Health NetworkVarious providersAccess a number of health care facilities offering telehealth services in New Brunswick.Free
mapleOnline bookingRegister for a monthly membership with maple to get easy access to doctor appointments.$30 per month

Telehealth Nova Scotia

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
Tele-Care Call 811Get advice on a broad range of everyday health concerns from a licensed nurse in over 120 languages.Free
Nova Scotia Health AuthorityVarious providersVisit the online interactive map to find a virtual provider near you.Free
mapleOnline bookingPay a fee to get instant access to this mobile app that will let you book an appointment at your leisure.$30 per month
Tia HealthOnline bookingDownload this app to get instant access to medical professionals across Canada.$30+ per visit

Telehealth Prince Edward Island

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
Telehealth PEICall 811Speak to a registered nurse about any medical issues or concerns you might have.Free
mapleOnline registrationPay a fee to get instant access to this mobile app that will let you book a same-day appointment in most cases.Free

Telehealth Newfoundland

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
Telehealth NewfoundlandCall 811Speak to a registered nurse about any medical issues or concerns you might have.Free
Provincial servicesVarious providersVisit the online interactive map to find a virtual provider near you.Free

Telehealth for the Territories

ProviderContactHow it worksCost
Yukon HealthLineCall 811Call to chat with a registered nurse who can answer your health questions or direct you to the right service.Free
Yukon Telehealth NetworkCall 867-667-8033Speak with the Yukon Telehealth Network coordinator to find out if there’s remote access to appointments near you.Free
Tele-Care NWTCall 1-888-255-1010Get free round-the-clock advice and access to information from registered nurses.Free
Nunavut Help LineCall 867-979-3333Call in for anonymous and confidential telephone counselling.Free

How can I access telehealth services?

You can access telehealth services by calling in to speak to a doctor or by booking an appointment with a private provider. Provincial telehealth lines (usually accessed by dialling 811 on your mobile phone) are mostly reserved for patients that want generic advice on a wide array of health issues. You can’t typically get a diagnosis through these services, and you won’t be able to get prescriptions refilled or medical problems looked at.

Many private health care providers also work online and offer mobile apps that you can download to book an appointment with your doctor. You won’t go into an office for your scheduled visit, but your doctor will typically call or videoconference you so that you can get the medical help you need from the comfort of your own home.

What specialists use telehealth?

There are a number of different specialists that can use telehealth services to exchange information and provide specialist services to remote clients. Some examples of how telehealth services are used are outlined below:

  • Telemedicine. Live video conferencing lets doctors and nurses speak to and diagnose patients who can’t make it into a clinic location.
  • Teleradiology. Doctors can send X-rays to a radiologist in another location to get specialist feedback on a patient’s condition.
  • Telepsychiatry. Telepsychiatry lets psychiatrists treat patients remotely, helping to increase public access to mental health services.
  • Teledermatology. Doctors can send pictures of patients’ skin conditions for remote examination by a skin specialist.
  • Teleophthalmology. Ophthalmologists can remotely examine a patient’s eyes to diagnose eye problems.
  • Teleobstetrics. Teleobstetrics enables an obstetrician to be able to provide remote prenatal care.
  • Telerehabilitation. Allows medical professionals to provide rehab services remotely (i.e. physical therapy).

What does the future hold for telehealth?

Telehealth is an emerging field in Canada and can be used to help patients across Canada get access to health services quickly and easily. This is particularly useful for patients that live far from clinics or have mobility issues. That said, this type of service comes with certain limitations and isn’t suitable for situations where in-person consultations or treatments are needed.

Telehealth options will also likely expand in response to the need for social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak. Many provinces and the federal government are investing more money and time into figuring out how this technology can help Canadians deal with this pandemic. This will surely have implications on how and when telehealth can be leveraged for future diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and disease in Canada.

Download the COVID Alert app

On July 31, 2020, the federal government released the COVID Alert app (for Android and iOS) to help track and prevent the spread of coronavirus. This non-mandatory app lets users report if they’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and anonymously notifies people nearby that they may have been exposed. Currently, only residents of Ontario can use the app to report their test results, but soon this functionality will be extended across Canada (the exact date has not yet been announced).

Bottom line

You can call most provincial telehealth networks by dialling 811 on your mobile phone. You’ll also be able to download private healthcare apps to book appointments with a licensed doctor. You may need to pay a fee for this service, though some of these services are offered for free when you use your provincial health care card in certain provinces.

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