Virtual Health Care for Islanders without a Primary Care Provider
If you are an Islander without a primary care provider you may be able to access health services from a family physician using your computer, smartphone or tablet. Through a secure healthcare platform powered by Maple, you can connect to a PEI physician who can treat you for a variety of conditions over instant messaging, audio, or video chat.
This virtual care program is a temporary measure to improve access to care during COVID-19 and does not replace the need for a permanent primary care provider. The cost for this service is covered by the government of Prince Edward Island until March 31, 2021.
Virtual Care Clinic Service is available Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Who is eligible for this program?
Patients who are currently waiting on the Provincial Patient Registry will be offered temporary access to the virtual care program, starting with those who have been waiting the longest. Once your name comes up on the list, you will receive an email or letter with further instructions on how to register. All members of your household whose names are on the Provincial Patient Registry will be granted access at the same time.
Please note: Registering for this program will not affect a patient’s position in the Patient Registry. Patients will maintain their place on the Patient Registry. If you are interested in this program, you must ensure your information is current and on the registry.
What will a virtual visit offer?
The PEI physicians associated with the program can assess and treat many of the issues and conditions they would be able to treat in a physical clinic setting. A virtual care provider can digitally write prescriptions (with the exception of narcotics) that can be faxed directly to your preferred pharmacy as well as issue lab and imaging requisitions and specialist referrals.
Not all care is appropriate to do by messaging, audio or video chat. If your virtual care provider reviews your symptoms and feels you need an in-person consult or emergency care, they will recommend you visit a walk-in clinic or emergency department.
Some of the most common conditions successfully treated through Maple Virtual Care include:
- Cold and flu
- Eye and ear infections
- Minor allergic reactions
- Minor injuries
- Urinary tract infections
- Sexual health issues
- Mental health issues
If you wish, a family member or friend may also join you at your location to be part of your appointment.
Will I have the same doctor each visit?
Although you won’t have the same doctor with each visit, each doctor can see documentation from past visits on Maple to help ensure continuity of care. You will have the ability to access and download your records on Maple at any time and provide them to other physicians or health care professionals you may see outside of Maple.
What about my privacy?
Health PEI, Maple and health care providers offering virtual care are committed to protecting the privacy of your personal health information by following the Health Information Act.
When you use Maple for virtual care visits, your data is protected with a comprehensive security infrastructure and stringent data policies to ensure it stays private and secure. Each consultation is delivered by a PEI licensed physician who is required to maintain your confidentiality.
You are responsible to choose a private place for your virtual visit to reduce the risk of:
- Confidential conversations being overheard; or
- Someone unintentionally joining the call.
If you or your health care provider feel the virtual visit is not meeting your needs, the appointment can end and other arrangements will be made. At any time, you can choose not to have a virtual visit.
View the Virtual Care Patient Information Guide [PDF | 193 KB]
What do I need to be able to access virtual care?
To perform a virtual visit using Maple, you will need:
- PEI Health Card
- Phone number for notifications
- Email address (for the Maple Account)
- Maple-24/7 Online Doctors App (free download from Google Play or Apple App Store)
- Computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone with webcam, speakers and microphone with built-in, USB plug-in, or wireless Bluetooth (Headset is optimal to ensure patient confidentiality.)
- Modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge and IE 11 or greater
- High-speed Internet or 4G LTE connection
Further instruction will be sent with program invitation.
If you are not using Wi-Fi, you are responsible for any charges related to data usage. Video streams can require significant data.
How should I prepare for the virtual visit?
Prepare for your appointment as you would an in-person meeting to be ready to talk about your health concerns.
You are advised to download the Maple 24/7 Online Doctors app ahead of time to become familiar with it and test the sound and video.
Appointments are available Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Patients can email any questions or concerns to HealthPEIMaple@ihis.org. This email will be responded to during regular government hours.