When you’re stuck at home or work and you, or someone in your family, gets sick and you need access to a doctor immediately to help you determine next steps, what do you do? There are days when we can’t take time to get out for too long – walk in clinics wait time alone can sometimes raise our stress levels. And often, our symptoms may not seem that critical to head to the emergency care at the nearby hospital (and then wait 5 hours to be seen). Of course, often when we feel the need to speak to our GP it’s past their practice hours. We were told about an app called MAPLE that  offers convenient access to doctors right from our smartphones and computers and it caught our attention.

Even though we’re fortunate to have some of the best quality care in the world, MAPLE is Canada’s only app providing patients with on-demand access to doctors by secure text or video for advice and diagnosis. Since launching just over a year ago, MAPLE has rapidly grown its network of doctors and patients to service eight provinces and two territories across the country. Currently the company reports nearly 20,000  users and more than 100 Canadian licensed doctors on the platform.

You can learn and download the app from the App Store at getmaple.ca 

We asked the creators of the app some serious questions we had in mind…

Who is this app for?

This app is for every Canadian in need of quick, high-quality, on-demand access to doctors.

Does MAPLE replace your visit to your GP or walk-in clinic?

MAPLE is a complement to the current system, not a substitute. The purpose of the app is to help save people a trip to the GP’s office or to the walk-in clinic for the everyday illness that doesn’t require a hands-on physical examination (e.g. more than half of visits do not require a hands-on physical examination for medical diagnosis, advice and treatment).

MAPLE is designed to allow Canadian doctors — with or without their own practice — to serve patients, remotely, during downtime and/or off-hours. Because many diagnoses do not require a hands-on examination, MAPLE doctors can safely and effectively assess patients for common medical conditions, providing sick notes and prescribing medications when needed.

Common diagnoses that can be made via Maple include:
● Eye and ear infections
● The common cold and flu
● Urinary tract infections
● Allergic reactions
● Skin issues and rashes
● Vomiting and diarrhea
● Sexual health issues
● Mental health concerns

How does the fee work and what does it include?

The fee includes a full consultation for as long as the patient needs.

Creating a MAPLE account is free and includes free storage of medical history and records. When patients need to see a doctor, MAPLE offers simple, time-of-day pricing per consultation:
● Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to midnight EST is $49 / visit
● Saturday / Sunday: 8 a.m. to midnight EST is $79 / visit
● Overnight: Midnight to 8 a.m. EST is $99 / visit

There is an option to purchase an annual membership, which includes year-round access to doctor consultations.
● Personal membership is $30 / month
● Family membership $50 / month

What about prescriptions?

Prescriptions (if necessary) are sent to the users nearest pharmacy for pick up.

How is it different from calling say, Telehealth, for advice?

Telehealth, though a great service, is fully staffed by nurses whom cannot prescribe medication. Often times, patients using Telehealth get re-directed to the clinic/ER to see a doctor for common medical issues. With MAPLE, patients are able to speak directly to a doctor and get diagnosed right away, plus receive any necessary prescriptions.

Are healthcare professionals available 24/7 and how quickly do they respond?

Doctors on MAPLE are available 24/7, and patients are connected to them within minutes (current wait time is less than 2 minutes).

Will they follow up with my regular GP?

MAPLE cannot directly follow up with a patient’s regular GP since all encounters on MAPLE are private and only accessible by the patient and treating physician. However, MAPLE gives patients the ability to access all their medical history and records on Maple and so they can easily provide it to their GP’s themselves via faxing or by download/print.

Any additional fees?

None! Registration is free, and the only fees associated are the consultations.