Alberta Doctors Launch Virtual Clinic in the Wake of COVID-19

PurposeMed is one of many new resources made available to support the public during the global pandemic

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Need to Know

  • Alberta doctors have launched an online clinic to ease demand on public health hotline.
  • PurposeMed was founded with 10 doctors on board and hopes to grow as time goes on.
  • The platform was launched in partnership with Calgary-based video communication company, liveweb.io.
  • As COVID-19 wreaks havoc internationally, more and more companies are working remotely and offering online health care resources and support.

Analysis

In the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta doctors have created an online clinic to ease the demand on the province’s public health hotline.

PurposeMed is a free, digital telemedicine clinic that Albertans can access to speak to a doctor remotely. Originally designed to launch in June, the team of founders (who are licensed physicians), have accelerated the launch to help ease the strain on the province’s public health care system. 

To access a doctor, users simply log on and verify their location. They are then sent to a virtual waiting room, from where a physician will initiate a video call. 

“I’m hoping it is a game-changer,” said Dr. Husein Moloo, one of the platform’s founders. “Especially right now as the government is encouraging people to distance themselves socially, the need for virtual care will just increase.”

The platform has launched with 10 licensed physicians on board, but Moloo hopes more will join. 

PurposeMed was built in collaboration with another Alberta company: Calgary-based video communication company, liveweb.io. 

Liveweb.io is a customer experience platform that is designed with video chat built-in. The company’s CEO, Trent Johnsen, said their team has been working around the clock to give PurposeMed an early launch in the face of the current public health crisis. 

He also acknowledges the likely increase in demand in video communication technologies as more and more employees opt to work from home. 

“It’s a bittersweet increase in interest for us … people are increasingly recognizing the value of the ability to work from home, and there’s been a big spike in the use of these types of technologies as a result of COVID-19,” said Johnsen.

As the ongoing coronavirus crisis puts pressure on businesses, many large corporations are stepping up to provide support for employees working remotely. 

Google is rolling out free access to advanced features for its Hangouts Meet function, allowing companies or educators to arrange video calls for up to 250 participants and live stream for up to 100,000 viewers.  

Similarly, Microsoft is offering free access for six months to their Microsoft Teams premium tier, which “lifts restrictions on how many users can be part of a team and allows users to schedule video calls and conferences.”

There are a number of online mental health platforms that have seen a surge in demand amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

Carl Nordstrom, the CEO of Online Therapy, said his company has seen a 30% increase in new clients in just one week. “We have a strong feeling that people are generally more anxious because of the coronavirus,” he said. 

Even the World Health Organization is bringing learning resources and team meetings online, launching a free online course for those who want to learn more about COVID-19. 

It is estimated that at least two-thirds of the global population will be working remotely this week.

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