Encon Group Inc. is bundling a virtual doctor consultation service into its group health-care product.

The insurance provider is collaborating with digital health startup Maple for the new offering, which includes virtual care 24/7, 365 days a year via a smartphone or computer. The offer also includes: access to a comprehensive medical record, owned and managed by the employee; a typical wait time of under two minutes to speak directly with a doctor whenever a health concern arises, bypassing the need to speak to a nurse or care coordinator; and the option to consult with a doctor through instant message, audio or video chat in English or French.

Read: Digital health startups partner to improve virtual health-care access

“Through virtual care, plan members will now have fast, convenient and secure access to doctors, without having to go through pre-screening or take additional time off work to sit in a doctor’s waiting room,” said Rhonda Sommerville, managing director of Encon, in a press release. “We believe that digital innovations like this are the future of health care and an important part of our service philosophy of bringing better choices and services to our clients.”

Brett Belchetz, chief executive officer and co-founder of Maple, noted the majority of Canadians are struggling to get timely access to doctors. “Virtual care — an innovation that has gained wide adoption around the world — is the perfect solution to address the issues of access and wait times to see doctors in specific health-care situations in Canada.”

The virtual care service is currently being rolled out to Encon’s group benefits clients enrolled or renewing in September 2019 onwards.

Read: Majority of Canadians would take advantage of virtual doctor visits: survey

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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