Telus to offer phone-based virtual med appointments
September 18, 2018
VANCOUVER – Telus Health has partnered with Babylon, a London, UK-based company that has produced an AI symptom checker that works on the smartphones of consumers, to create a service that offers doctors and patients in Canada with access to virtual healthcare technology solutions and services. The system will also connect patients with clinicians using “virtual medical appointments.”
The service will complement existing healthcare services across the country for people in rural areas or living with mobility issues, those who are unable to access non-emergency healthcare on evenings, weekends or holidays, and for the five million Canadians who do not have a family physician.
A recent study by the Canadian Medical Association, found that three out of four Canadians (75 per cent) believe that new technologies could solve existing issues in our healthcare system. Further, seven in 10 Canadians would take advantage of virtual physician visits and many believe that it would lead to more timely and convenient care.
“At Telus Health, we leverage the power of technology to deliver better health outcomes, empowering Canadians with the right tools, information and support they need to live healthier and happier lives. Our partnership with Babylon, through a globally-leading virtual care solution, will enable consumers to get access to healthcare anywhere and anytime they need it,” said Juggy Sihota (pictured), vice president, Telus Health. “Together, we are not only helping to improve the options Canadians have for accessing healthcare, but also providing them with a digital tool that makes communicating with healthcare professionals more efficient.”
Both organizations are committed to delivering the most trusted and reliable service to Canadians with all patient data being stored in Canada. Work is also underway to establish an advisory council of medical professionals to provide guidance into the roll out of this innovative service, and ministries of health across the country will also be engaged for their input.
Babylon’s suite of digital solutions is currently being used by approximately three million direct members outside of Canada and is accessible to tens of millions more through the organization’s worldwide partnerships. The virtual care technology will be made available to Canadians via a version of the mobile app developed specifically for Canada.
Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), the app will include an easy-to-use, chat-style symptom checker that patients can use to better understand their symptoms or healthcare concerns. This highly intuitive and accurate interface can also be used to have a video consultation with a licensed Canadian healthcare provider.
“Canada is building a reputation worldwide for innovation and desires to be at the cutting-edge of development,” said Dr. Ali Parsa, Babylon’s Founder & CEO. “Telus’ consumer-centric approach coupled with its success in creating a more connected healthcare ecosystem through the use of innovative digital health technology solutions makes them the perfect partner for Babylon as we begin to serve this great country.
“Together, we will build on the brilliant work that Canada’s federal and provincial governments, departments of health and clinicians are doing to tackle issues of primary care access and affordability. Babylon’s mission is to put accessible and affordable healthcare services into the hands of every person on earth and entering the Canadian market is an exciting step for us. We look forward to extending our services to all Canadians via this game-changing announcement with Telus.”
The Telus-Babylon service in Canada will be made available in English at launch with French to follow in 2019. More details will be announced later this year, including information regarding its staggered rollout across the country.
Babylon’s Mission is to put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of every person on Earth. Babylon uses a combination of cutting-edge technology and the best available medical expertise to deliver 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week access to digital health tools (including health assessment, triage and medical information tools), to people across Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, as well as video doctor consultations. For more information, please visit www.babylonhealth.com.
About Telus Health and Payment Solutions
Telus Health is a leader in home health monitoring, electronic medical and health records, as well as consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management solutions. Telus Health leverages the power of technology to enable better health outcomes for Canadians with innovative digital solutions that enable collaboration, efficiency and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied healthcare professionals, insurers, employers and citizens. Telus Payment Solutions complements our health solutions by delivering secure, industry-compliant payment and lending solutions that connect lenders, payors, insurers, extended healthcare providers and financial institutions to their customers across Canada.