A new website launched by the Canadian Medical Association yesterday will allow Canadians to email doctors their medical questions via a secure messaging system. Called mydoctor.ca, the site is an initiative by the CMA to help address the doctor shortage, so that problems that don’t necessarily require face-to-face interaction can be addressed over email – which would presumably take up less of the doctor’s time, and yours, than coming into the office.
The portal features a search window that allows you to search for your doctor by name, and, if they’re signed up, connects you to their website, which is hosted within mydoctor.ca. My doctor’s not on there (I checked), and some doctors with webpages appear not to offer email service – they just information such as clinic hours. As well, the site won’t hook you up with a new doctor – your own doctor has to be participating in order to use it.
The CMA hasn’t yet released numbers as to how many doctors are expected to participate in the site, though a report in the Vancouver Sun said “a few hundred” participated in the pilot program. And while a CTV report says the service costs doctors $240 a year to acquire, the Vancouver Sun says the CMA is advising doctors to considering charging patients an annual fee of $50 to $100 to use the service, and possibly an additional fee for each online interaction.
Are you comfortable with the idea of emailing your doctor questions, or would you prefer to stick to traditional in-person care? And would you pay to use a service like this? Email us your comments here.