Not all medical care needs to take place in person. An online medical service can help relieve pressure on the health care system, said Creston Mayor Ron Toyota.
Medeo allows patients to consult with a doctor by video link and it is available to all B.C. residents (and in other jurisdictions around the world). The service is covered by the BC Medical Service Plan, which is billed directly for Medeo services.
As chair of the Creston Valley Health Working Group, which works to recruit physicians and other medial professionals to the Creston area, Toyota said he registered with Medeo to test how the service works.
“I registered and then made an Internet appointment,” he said. “A receptionist contacted me and I did a Facetime consult with the physician, getting a second opinion on my high blood pressure.
“This system is great for getting prescriptions refilled, and if lab or blood tests are required, it is then referred to Medeo. A physician is contacted and an appointment is then scheduled.”
Medeo, a privately owned company, is not a medical product — it is a utility that connects doctors and patients. The company does not employ doctors, but any practicing B.C. physician can sign on to see B.C. patients via videoconference. If a Medeo patient’s doctor has signed on to the service, the patient can be matched with him or her. A patient can also send an invitation for his or her physician to sign on to Medeo.
Creating an account is simple. First time users enter their name, Medical Services Plan number and phone number, then create a password. They then enter a virtual waiting room where a Medeo co-ordinator does an initial screening. A video consultation with a doctor is then arranged, usually within a day of making the request. Access to the videoconference service requires a computer with a camera.
Medeo uses encrypted software to ensure the confidentiality of the doctor-patient interactions.
On the Medeo website (medeo.ca) are testimonies posted by Twitter users:
“Shout out to @medeo for saving my family from spending half my day in a crowded clinic just to get my regular medications refilled!”
“Just downloaded @medeo, signed up and was talking to a doctor, after hours, in minutes. THIS is how health care should be!”
“Thanks @medeo! You saved me from a long wait at the drop in clinic with a 2 yr old! Only 20 min wait to connect to a Doc = Brilliant!”
Another resource for those who can’t get a doctor’s appointment in a timely manner or who need quick information about a medical issue is HealthLink BC. The website provides medically approved information on more than 5,000 health topics, symptoms, medications and tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It also has a director listing services near the searcher’s hometown.
A phone call to HealthLink BC (811) allows callers from British Columbia to speak with a nurse at any time of the day and night. Pharmacists are available to answer questions about medication at night.