Monday,  December 4, 2023  4:32 am

Virtual healthcare: a handy option for travellers & useful tool for agents

Virtual healthcare: a handy option for travellers & useful tool for agents
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch:

When most of the world shut down in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians struggled to find reliable healthcare services.

For some, it was too risky to leave the house. For others, the long wait times, or revised clinic hours simply didn't work.

One of the major outcomes of COVID-19 in Canada is the rise in doing things digitally, and now, that even includes healthcare.

Lumino Health is one of Canada’s largest network of healthcare providers, and it's free to all Canadians. Although relatively new to the industry, virtual care has been an emerging trend over the last few years in Canadian healthcare.

How it works

Utilizing smartphones or computers, Lumino Health allows Canadians to connect virtually with a medical professional for physical and mental health concerns or even to fill a prescription.

It also ensures that Canadians, especially those who may have travelled recently, can gain access to medical practitioners in the comfort of home, without risking the health and safety of others in the community, should they require care.

Individuals can narrow down the search for a healthcare practitioner by entering the desired postal code, provider, or specialty.

"Virtual care is available when you need assistance right away and does not replace the importance of physical examination or testing," Chris Denys, senior vice-president of possibilities at Lumino Health, told PAX. "Your health care provider can talk through your symptoms with you virtually and help you understand what to do next. In some cases, your virtual consultation could lead to a referral for a test or treatment in a clinic or at the hospital. In other cases, for example, mental health therapy, you may be able to get treatment without leaving home."

The Government of Canada's current regulations surrounding self-isolation do make an exception for those who must seek medical assistance for COVID-related symptoms. However, those seeking testing or medical treatment must immediately return to their place of quarantine or isolation location afterwards.

A tool for travel advisors

For travellers who are self-isolating after they return from abroad, virtual care is a great resource, said Denys.

“Travel agents can use Lumino Health as a tool to educate their clients about how to find virtual care and when to use it,” said Denys. “We added a ‘virtual visits’ icon that makes it easy to identify the over 12,000 providers on the platform who offer virtual services.”

And, since it’s available to everyone online, agents can share the link and give their clients an ongoing resource to manage their health, said Denys.

What kinds of services are available?

Through Lumino Health, any Canadian can find and book a healthcare professional that offers virtual care, including a psychologist, a physiotherapist or a naturopath.

Users can filter by cost category, rating, hours, distance or language to find the appropriate health care provider for their needs.

There is no fee to search for a health care provider on Lumino Health. The cost of health services, virtual or otherwise, depends on an individual's health insurance plan and the chosen provider.

Going virtual 

In a recent survey, Lumino Health asked Canadians who have sought health care what resources they were using.

Over one third (36 per cent) of respondents said they were using virtual appointments for mental health issues. Just under a third (31 per cent) said they were using virtual appointments to help with physical health.

Overall, 42 per cent of Canadians said they would definitely or probably use virtual care. The number was highest (50 per cent) among the youngest group, aged 18 to 34.

The survey also revealed that Canadians believe the main benefits of virtual care are convenience (54 per cent); no waiting rooms (50 per cent); and speed to connect with a healthcare professional (40 per cent).

For more information on Lumino Health's range of services, click here.

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