Akira App Provides Access to Canadian Doctors
In Ontario, technology startup firm Akira, launched a new app of the same name back in May that allows people to have access to Canadian doctors and nurse practitioners right from their smartphone or tablet device. The mobile app is available for free download from the Apple App Store and on Google Play, depending on the type of mobile device operating system you use.

The app is unique as it allows people to open text or video chat sessions with a healthcare professional and obtain diagnosis for minor health problems, as well as receive prescriptions, if necessary. However, the new healthcare app is raising questions within the medical community and how it affects our single-payer healthcare system, which many of us hold in high regards, compared to the healthcare systems in other countries.

How Does Akira Work?

Akira allows you to access doctors for non-urgent healthcare questions and diagnoses right through your smartphone. It is of benefit to people who are constantly on the go and have a medical issue, but know their own primary care physician will not be available to see them that same day, when they require help.

Part of the issue with our single-payer system is most family care physicians require appointments to be scheduled a minimum of three to five days ahead of the actual visit. Some are even booked out a few weeks in advance, which means unless your primary care doctor reserves blocks of time for emergency visits, you will either have to wait to see them, or find an alternative solution for immediate care, like Akira.

Akira is a subscription based service where you have to pay a flat monthly fee of $9.99 to use the app and have access doctors and nurse practitioners. However, there are no annual contracts or commitment periods and subscribers are free to cancel at any time. For people who want immediate access to a doctor, the app offers unlimited video and text access to licensed doctors. Other benefits of the app include being able to obtain referrals, prescriptions, and lab tests. You can even request delivery of your prescriptions for free right to your home or office.

For instance, let’s say you had pink eye, which is highly contagious and often requires a prescription to resolve. You know you will not be able to get in to see your primary care doctor, so instead you use Akira. Within about 20 minutes, you have talked to a doctor and your prescription has been sent to your pharmacy or scheduled to be delivered to your home. You did all of this without every getting off of your couch.

Why Is Akira Allowed with Our Single-Payer System?

Going back to the example, pink eye is a covered treatment under our single-payer system. However, in Ontario, our provincial program does not cover the costs for telemedicine in most cases. Telemedicine is using mobile devices or other technologies to provide patients care and treatment. Since it is a non-covered service, companies are able to charge for telemedicine services.

Why Use for Akira for Covered Services?

For some people, paying $9.99 and not having to make a trip to their primary care physician or wait in an ER waiting area with other sick and contagious people is well worth the investment. In fact, many Canadians are willing to pay a small monthly fee to be able to access healthcare providers using technology devices rather than having to make visits to their offices.

Even though there are numerous questions on how this new technology is going to evolve and become part of our healthcare system, Akira has plans to expand its services throughout Canada. Expanding to other provinces will take some time as covered services do vary by province.

How Akira Can Help Shape the Future of Canadian Healthcare

The technology behind Akira will help change and advance the future of our healthcare system. It is only a matter of time before doctors, hospitals, clinics, and other providers start using electronic healthcare systems to provide care. Eventually, services like Akira could be covered under Canada’s healthcare system through provincial and private plans.

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Posted by: DSR
Monday, October 3, 2016
Tag: Healthcare
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