Ontario-based MedviewMD opens tele-clinics in BC
August 17, 2016
KAMLOOPS, BC – MedviewMD, based in Chatham, Ont., has opened four medical studios for telehealth west of Ontario – in Kamloops, Langley and Chilliwack. The studios, which enable patients to have a medical appointment with a remote physician, have been set up in pharmacies.
The clinics are designed to relieve the shortage of primary care doctors in many small to medium-sized communities, a phenomenon that is leading to “orphaned” patients – those without family doctors.
MedviewMD differs from typical video consultations because it takes place in a set location, adjacent to a pharmacy, and employs nurses who use stethoscopes, otoscopes, blood pressure monitors and other devices. Images are shared with the online physician and the patient, and data is saved in a record.
The online doctors can write prescriptions and make referrals.
Still, some have questioned whether the clinics, which use video, can provide the continuity of care that is needed to substitute for the care of a family physician.
Dan Nead, CEO of MedviewMD, told the Vancouver Sun that patients can request the same doctor after an initial visit and schedule follow-up appointments in advance.
“We can commit one of our doctors to you,” says Nead, who has a background in the financial sector. “We’re working toward dedicating doctors to the same regions, to the same locations, so that idea of having a physician who knows your history and has quite likely seen you in the past is available.”
In addition to the four studios in British Columbia, MedviewMD has 11 locations in Ontario, including sites in Windsor, Sudbury, Peterborough and North Bay. It is planning to open 19 more studios in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.
The studios are aiming to take the pressure off busy hospital emergency rooms and walk-in clinics, where patients with relatively minor ailments may often wait for hours to see a physician.
Earlier, MedviewMD announced that it has signed a letter of intent with McKesson Canada to deploy its Medical Studios in pharmacies throughout the country and across McKesson’s complete suite of retail pharmacy banners.
Mr. Nead said the partnership with McKesson represents a “pivotal opportunity” for the company. An accelerated rate of expansion is anticipated as a result of this agreement.
According to MedviewMD, the underlying motive is to provide greater access to primary healthcare in a cost-effective manner. The company estimates that five million Canadians lack a family doctor.
With the addition of a MedviewMD ‘Medical Studio,’ pharmacies differentiate themselves as ‘centres of care’ within their local communities. Increased foot traffic and scripts are the direct commercial benefit to pharmacies. Moreover, as the ‘Medical Studio’ engenders a more collaborative environment for healthcare practitioners, an ever expanding role for host pharmacists is foreseen as telemedicine technology continues to evolve.
McKesson is a multi-billion dollar global supply chain and healthcare services company whose banners include Guardian, I.D.A., Medicine Shoppe Canada, Proxim, and Remedy’sRx chain, bringing its store count to just under 2,000 across Canada.