You wake up one morning and you discover that the tickle that's been in your throat for the last few days has turned into a full-blown, antibiotic-requiring illness.
If you're like most Canadians, your options in this situation come down to two choices:
You can bundle up, go to the clinic, and spend the better part of an hour in the waiting room with a bunch of sick people. Or you can tough it out until you're the hacking and wheezing sick person that no one in the waiting room wants to sit beside.
Enter the Maple online doctor experience.
What exactly is Maple and how can you make the most of it?
First, we'll give you the rundown on Maple and explain how you can use it to see a virtual doctor in Canada. Then we'll give you 5 tips that you can use to ensure that your Maple appointment goes as smoothly as possible.
Keep on reading to learn more.
The simplest way to explain it is that Maple is a web-based telemedicine platform that gives Canadians 24/7 access to doctors who work in and are licensed to practice in Canada.
In many regards, it functions as an online non-emergency care walk-in clinic in that you can get prescriptions, a proper diagnosis, and even lab work.
But at the same time, it goes a little bit further than a standard primary care clinic in that patients can also speak directly to specialists in a number of disciplines that include dermatology, endocrinology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and more.
And the best part is that you can log in through a laptop or a computer at any time. All you need to have access to medical care is an internet connection.
One of the strengths of Maple as a platform is its extremely user-friendly interface.
After you log in, you're asked to enter your symptoms into an intuitive, simple-to-understand form. Once that's completed, you can click the "See Doctor" button and then the platform will connect you to a physician within a few minutes.
From there, prescriptions, diagnosis, and referrals for lab work will all be completed by your Maple-picked virtual doctor during your appointment.
Here in Canada, we're used to universal healthcare and not having to pay for medical care out-of-pocket at clinics.
That's not the case with Maple.
The exact rates will change depending on a number of factors like when you're calling and who you're speaking to. But here's a general overview of how Maple's costs and payment options.
The most straightforward option that's available to Maple users is a standard pay-as-you-go plan.
Maple service rates under this category are as follows:
Based on these numbers, a Maple virtual doctor visit could cost you anywhere from $49 to $99.
As affordable as this might look, however, the rate you're charged can differ dramatically if you decide to book time with a specialist.
Speaking with a Maple dermatologist, for example, will typically cost $180 for the initial visit and then $90 for follow-up appointments. Because this price includes the cost of your prescription, there is some potential for savings here.
At the same time, however, booking a psychiatrist through Maple can cost $450 for an initial appointment if the visit isn't covered by your provincial plan.
If you're looking to speak with a specialist, you'll want to factor these fees into your budget.
If you can see yourself using Maple on a regular basis or as a walk-in clinic replacement, the platform also allows Canadians to choose a membership plan.
The two options are:
The benefits include 24/7 access to a Maple virtual doctor as well as free prescription pickup and delivery. However, because membership is paid on an annual basis, you do need to pay a bit more upfront for it.
In addition, another major downside of the membership payment option is that the membership doesn't appear to include carte blanche access to specialist healthcare providers.
As a result, Canadians opting for this plan will have to have additional money set aside for costs if they're paying for Maple out of pocket.
This option is a cross between the membership plan and the pay-per-visit plan.
With Canadians able to choose between the Starter Credit, Extended Credit, and Year-Round Credit packages, you can bulk purchase the credit you need and then use it as required throughout the year.
With different savings options available depending on how much you purchase, the prepaid option can be used as either a top-up or a cheaper approach to a pay-per-visit plan.
Maple doctors are able to treat a wide variety of non-emergency medical conditions. These can include:
But even so, there are still limitations on what Maple is able to treat. These would include:
If you have a condition that relates to any of these less treatable conditions, you will probably have to see a doctor in-person.
You've decided to go ahead and book your appointment. And you know that once you're connected with your virtual doctor through Maple, you have a limited amount of time to prepare.
What can you do? How can you take this virtual appointment from "I've never really spoken to a doctor online before." to "Wow I can't believe how useful that was!"?
Here are 5 essential tips that you can use to get more from your Maple appointment.
COVID-19 had tons of people working from home in 2020.
So much so that many Canadians don't even have to imagine how distracting it is to have a Zoom meeting with a TV blaring and the sounds of talking children in the background.
You don't want that to happen during your medical visit.
In addition, your Maple doctor doesn't have the benefit of being able to see you in-person.
There are many conditions, like acne flareups or suspicious moles, that your Maple virtual doctor may wish to inspect more closely during your appointment.
If you can set up a quiet and well-lit space ahead of your visit, you'll be well on your way to having a productive session.
Have you ever planned to have a serious conversation only to forget 75% of what you wanted to say in the heat of the moment?
Public speakers will often go on stage with notes to make sure that they get through all the points they want to make.
You can do the same thing as you get ready to meet with your online doctor. Of course, these notes don't have to look like a highlighted and alphabetically-organized binder.
If you have a list of topics that you need to discuss, taking a few minutes to jot it down can go a long way towards helping you get more out of your visit. One of the nice things about the Maple service is that it doesn't have a time limit for appointments. As such, you can get all of your questions answered as long as you go into your visit with a solid understanding of what you have to discuss.
For the purposes of treatment as well as diagnosis, it can be helpful for your doctor to know a bit of basic information about your present physical condition like your current weight or your temperature.
Although a lot of this initial information-gathering is done for you in traditional walk-in clinics, you can save yourself time and help your doctor out by taking some of this information for yourself at home.
Basic things like taking your own temperature, knowing your blood sugar level, or checking your own pulse should be doable without too much trouble. And as far as your doctor will be concerned, every bit of extra detail that you provide has the potential to help with your diagnosis.
Have you ever noticed how any time you visit a clinic for the first time, you're asked to fill out a bunch of forms that include questions about medications you've taken in the past?
Doctors don't ask for this information just to be nosey. They do so because oftentimes your medical history can potentially impact your diagnosis and your treatment options.
Here's an example.
If you've had a previous prescription, the doctor may have reason to be concerned about the potential side effects of drug interactions. In addition, if you've had a history of one type of illness and you're complaining about similar symptoms during your visit, that can help the doctor quickly narrow down a list of potential ailments.
Along with your documented medical history, you'll want to also be prepared to discuss the type of undiagnosed but nonetheless relevant medical information that would prompt a doctor to say "Thank goodness you told me that!"
Small and seemingly minor details like a random stomachache or an oddly-timed migraine can end up being surprisingly important as far as your health is concerned.
Technology is notorious for being good until it backfires.
According to an article on Inc, surveyed professionals reported that 31% of late meetings could be traced back directly to tech-related mishaps.
Making sure that your devices are working and your wifi signal is functional can do a lot to help you avoid the awkward situation of having to troubleshoot your tablet or your desktop during your medical appointment.
Is your device taking a long time to load? Is the sound from your laptop speakers muffled or unclear? Is there static when you attempt to call people?
If you're counting down the minutes until you're ready to book an appointment and you're seeing this sort of behaviour in your technology, you may want to put that device down in favour of another before your meeting begins.
In Canada, virtual doctor visits would have seemed like a far-fetched idea just a few years ago. But thanks to the Maple, one doctor service allows Canadians to receive excellent medical care from the comfort of home.
For parents, shift and corporate workers, and the 6.3 million Canadians who were living in rural areas during the 2011 census, the convenience of this platform makes it worth exploring.
Are you looking for more information on insurance, finance, and all manner of lifestyle tips and advice? Check out the Insurdiary.ca blog today.