We learned a lot of lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Two of the biggest might be how much we are connected to the online world, and how much we want timely, professional healthcare when and where we need it. A Manitoba company has combined the two with the hopes of giving Canadians access to quality care no matter where they are or the time of day. QDoc positions itself to help those without access to doctor as more than one in five Canadians (an estimated 6.5 million people) do not have a family physician or nurse practitioner they see regularly, according to a national survey.
Winnipeg’s Norm Silver and David Berkowits saw the need for accessible healthcare and how the digital space could help. Together, they founded QDoc—a 24/7 virtual healthcare platform that connects patients to doctors from homes, offices or wherever you happen to be. Today, QDoc serves people in Manitoba, Nunavut and Northwest Ontario, bringing physicians and patients together in an easy-to-use, free (with a provincial health card) online platform.
Patients meet with a qualified physician online, who can make diagnoses, prescribe medications, refer to specialists and arrange for in-person consultations. It’s your doctor’s office without the wait, and it’s available whenever you need it.
“Not only am I a founder of the company, but I am also a physician,” says Silver. “Last November, I came home from a poker game during the first snowstorm of the year. I logged onto to see if anyone was waiting to be seen. A mother was in our queue with her child who had what we call ‘nursemaid’s elbow.’ Instead of her driving 45 minutes to the emergency room in the middle of the night in a storm, I was able to guide her through how to treat the problem at home.” Instead of a long night in an ER, the worried parent was able to get the help she needed where she was. “She called back to say thank you and it was one of those moments where you can see firsthand the value we provide to patients,” he says.
QDoc has also helped in critical situations where time was of the essence. “We also saw a newborn who had been into a clinic the same day, but their parents knew something was still not right,” says Silver. “We saw that what seemed like a simple rash was actually sepsis and got the baby and their family to the emergency room in Brandon that was ready for their arrival.”
The company is growing quickly as its made-in-Manitoba solution proves its value to healthcare providers and the system. The team has grown to 30 full-time staff and 88 physicians available online. “Our mission is equal access to quality medical care for all Canadians wherever they are. It’s rewarding and exciting to be part of, and it’s happening here.”