Medeo sets up free service to find doctors for B.C. students

Medeo is the first program of its kind in Canada and will reach 125,000 students in Studentcare’s network across British Columbia.
Photo illustration by Kayla Isomura.

There is a new Internet source for students who need medical assistance but don’t have the time or ability to see a doctor. Medeo and Studentcare are introducing a new program that allows patients to see a doctor entirely via the web.

Health advice, referrals and prescriptions sent to the drugstore of the students’ choice are available online through Medeo, with a service that’s accessible 60 hours a week.

The new program is available to all post-secondary students in British Columbia, but it is an independent resource – Medeo does not work with individual student health offices on campus. Instead, Medeo offers a downloadable application where students can log in, sign up, and interact with medical professionals.

“You can see a physician any time you want,” said Medeo president Ryan Wilson. “We can also direct students to specialists and psychiatrists with this program.”

Medeo is essentially a third party provider, with their profits exclusively coming from doctors who pay a “rental” fee for the service.

Highest age bracket of people who do not see a doctor regularly

Regular interaction with a physician is getting scarce, especially with students. According to a 2012 Statistics Canada report, over four million Canadians do not have a regular doctor. This number is particularly high with young adults, as 35 per cent of people between the ages of 20 and 35 are without a general practitioner.

That percentage drops with increased age – after the age of 35, those without regular doctors diminish before reaching an ultimate point of only seven per cent by the age of 65.

International students may struggle to communicate in English

Brad Van Dam, an International student coordinator at Langara College, said that there might be issues for international students using Medeo. “There might be a language barrier problem – many of our students have poor English skills, so we usually direct them to a doctor in their community.”

However, Van Dam indicated that there have generally few problems for international students accessing healthcare in Canada.

The new program is covered for all students that are paying the MSP health insurance. International students that are covered by third-party private insurance such as Axis, which the International office endorses, will have to pay a fee, but Ryan Wilson states that this process is “just the same as going to any clinic in Vancouver.” Payments are made via credit card and services such as Axis will reimburse the student.

The company is based entirely in Vancouver. Medeo began an initial test run in January earlier this year, as they investigated the possibility of online medical access between one physician and a given test subject. They now have eight licensed physicians on their board of advisors.

Reported by Glen Truax

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