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Telemedicine appointments gain traction in Quebec during coronavirus crisis

Quebecers are using telemedicine services to consult with general practitioners and medical specialists during the coronavirus pandemic.
Quebecers are using telemedicine services to consult with general practitioners and medical specialists during the coronavirus pandemic. Getty Images

Since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, more than 1.5 million Quebecers have had medical consultations over the phone or by videoconference.

The new way of medical appointments  — by telephone or video — has been on the upswing since mid-March. The goal was to protect patients and doctors from contracting and spreading COVID-19.

From March 16 to June 8, 6,625 general practitioners billed teleconsultation procedures for more than one million different patients, according to figures obtained by La Presse Canadienne from the Régie l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ).

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As for medical specialists, 4,565 of them billed for telemedicine for more than 400,000 different patients.

In that period, more than 11,000 doctors made appointments by phone or video and 1,525,182 Quebecers consulted them.

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However, the number of consultations is probably higher than reported because the figures for June were not compiled. Doctors also have 120 days to bill RAMQ for medical procedures.

With files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise