Seeing a doctor and getting a prescription is about to get easier.
Shoppers Drug Mart announced a new service on Tuesday, July 7, which aims to help rural communities in B.C. get the care they need. The service is a partnership between Shoppers and Maple, a platform that gives patients access to healthcare professionals online.
Director of healthcare innovation at Shoppers Stephanie Clark said the goal is to make receiving care more convenient, as well as alleviate the pressure on walk-in clinics and emergency rooms.
“There’s such a challenge in accessing care. There are already more than 700,000 people across the province who don’t have access to a family doctor. And especially with COVID-19, I think the obstacles for patients to access care has gotten even more difficult,” she said.
“It’s an on-demand service and there’s no need to book an appointment. It’s designed to be super easy for patients to use.”
Clark said patients only need to let a pharmacist know they need to see a doctor, who can then help them use the platform to begin a virtual session with a B.C.-licensed physician.
The service is covered by the B.C. Medical Services Plan (MSP) and is now available in 12 communities, including Kelowna, Lake Country, Kamloops, Dawson Creek, Summerland, Trail, Campbell River, Maple Ridge, Castlegar, Kitimat and Creston. The service will expand province-wide by August 4.
“Across the province, we know there really is an access to care issue but we’re starting with predominantly rural communities with a shortage of physicians and walk-in clinics. This allows patients to make sure they’re getting that access to the care they need,” Clark added.