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The future of health care may be on your mobile device

For those who tire of long waits at the doctor's office, these apps offer fast (and legitimate) medical services at the touch of a fingertip.

 

technology woman holding white smart phone with blank blue screen

Photo, Getty Images.

 

In the not-too-distant future, weeks-long waits to see your doctor or visits to a walk-in clinic may be a thing of the past as more and more technology companies are partnering with health care providers to provide timely more cost-efficient services to the public.

An article in Fast Company draws attention to this trend; for example, in the US, the Mayo Clinic is now offering an app that connects people via video to nurses where they can have real-time chats.

The app, which costs $49.95 a month, also includes personally-tailored health information culled from Mayo Clinic databases, a “symptom checker” that incorporate’s individual user’s health histories, and access to a personal medical concierge who can provide more information or schedule patients’ doctor appointments.

In B.C., there’s Medeo, a Vancouver-based app and website that allows patients to connect via video with 400 licensed doctors and health care providers. Patients can log on, create a case file and even upload and scan tests and other pertinent health information before they are connected to a doctor via a medical coordinator for a video “visit”.

The service is free to B.C. residents with a valid medical services number and can be downloaded via the Apple store. Alternatively, people can go to the website and sign up there. Currently only available to B.C. residents, the company is reportedly working on some potential projects in other provinces, including Ontario.

The virtual care app isn’t 24 hours — it has set daily office hours. But it may be more time efficient. Wait times vary, but on average patients can be connected to a doctor in as little as five to ten minutes, said a company representative. Even better: that wait doesn’t occur in a doctor’s office but in the comfort of your own home where the magazine selection is infinitely better.