While health officials do their best to provide answers to the public about COVID-19, virtual healthcare solutions provider Maple is doing what it can to quell those concerns by launching a free online screening tool and access to a live doctor for residents of Ontario.

Starting March 17, Ontario residents with a valid health card will be able to access these consultations from getmaple.ca and speak to a doctor through either an audio or video channel to discuss their symptoms and whether or not they should go for further testing or treatment. The solution is covered by OHIP and will be accessible from here.

Following the appointment, people can have their results faxed over to their family physician or a local screening centre for next steps.

“Connecting concerned patients, who are receiving conflicting information from every angle, with licensed Canadian doctors from the safety of their homes is simply the right thing to do,” said Dr. Brett Belchetz, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Maple, in a press release. “We’re already seeing a strong increase in the need for virtual health services across the country. We hope that in the coming weeks, other provincial governments will follow Ontario’s example and open billing codes to allow video or telephone programs to expand across the country. It’s the best way to ensure safe access to healthcare in this time of self-isolation and social distancing.”

This is not yet available in other provinces due to healthcare plan laws and regulations not allowing for physicians to bill for online appointments, the company noted.

Maple will also provide its virtual clinic software to all Ontario and B.C. physicians at no charge.

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