Welcome to the next evolution of family medicine in Canada.
Toronto-based HomeMD is a revolutionary medical app for families in Toronto providing unlimited medical house calls, walk-in clinic visits and video consultations – described by Alon Birshtein, CEO of HomeMD Technologies Inc., as “family clinic 2.0.”
Birshtein said the unique platform is designed to make people’s lives easier and healthier.
“We have basically three different services. We do house calls. We do telemedicine and we have a physical clinic in Yorkville,” he said. “What our app allows users to do is not only access and book all three of those things including having the telemedicine within the app as some part of our platform but equally as important it also allows the users full visibility into their health records in real time. So all of your prescriptions, all of your encounter notes from every appointment, all of your referral notes, diagnostic labs. Everything that is part of your health record you have it in the app available in real time.”
The company was incorporated in January 2016 and officially launched about January 2018.
Birshtein said the powerful new software is the next step in patient-centered care, reflecting the company’s goal to design family practice around the patient and to provide the treatment the patient needs, when and how they need it.
“We plan to expand nationally and then internationally eventually,” he said. “Anybody that’s been part of the Canadian healthcare system knows that we’re amazing in many things but we’re not amazing in many other things. Basically what we’re trying to do is bridge the gap between them. For example, our consultations, nobody’s ever rushed. We actually take our time to do exactly what we need to do to give the patients the best care. Follow ups are very important to us.”
The company uses three nurse practitioners. Birshtein said the use of NPs is really for two reasons: “first, we know that while doctors study disease and how to cure them, nurse practitioners study people and how to heal them. And second, NPs make ideal primary care providers because of their holistic approach with clients which includes health education, risk identification and reduction, treatment of illness and preventive care through healthy lifestyle choices. For these reasons, NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to healthcare.”
“Their vision is aligned with the level of care we’re trying to achieve and in practice we’ve actually seen that materialize,” said Birshtein.
“Let’s just say you need to talk to your practitioner. You open up your app. You book one of three appointments. We usually start with telemedicine. That’s kind of like your first point as it’s the most efficient and then for whatever reason we can’t address the problem on telemedicine and then the patient has the choice of either we come to you or you come to us – whichever is more convenient to them. And everything is included within our monthly subscription model.”
The charge is $50 a month for adults and $25 a month for children under the age of 18.
The app was “soft launched” in October of 2017 and in January it was opened up to the public. Birshtein said the company started its marketing campaign in March of this year.
The app is available for people within the Greater Toronto Area.
Patients can access their health records, immunization records and notifications regarding upcoming immunizations. They can schedule a video consultation for all their health-related questions instead of going to a clinic. The app entitles people to unlimited visits to its state-of-the-art medical clinic or unlimited medical home visits.
Birshtein said the idea for HomeMD came after a personal experience where his daughter was getting ear infections. Over the course of a few months he had numerous visits to the doctor’s office.
“Countless and countless hours. The last time I just thought to myself there’s got to be a better way to do this so it’s efficient for the parents, it’s efficient for the children, more efficient for everyone,” he said. “From that kind of point slowly but surely we materialized it to a well-rounded service that we offer. There’s a statistic that about 70 per cent of things people go to their family clinic for can be handled using telemedicine.”