Convenience of virtual-doctor house calls enticing, especially to younger women: UBC study

Jul 30, 2017

On-demand house calls via Internet video teleconferencing are an increasingly popular way for B.C. patients to “see” doctors, especially females with relatively minor medical problems, a first-of-its-kind study on the demographics of such users shows.

Examining 16,000 invoice billing codes submitted to the government by primary-care doctors who saw patients online over a one-year period in 2014-15, University of B.C. researchers identified the most common medical concerns underlying such consultations. They were relatively minor, led by anxiety/depression, contraception, skin complaints, digestion issues, including heartburn and nausea, and common colds. The next five most-common conditions were urinary tract infections, asthma, allergies, fatigue and herpes.

The two-year study published in the B.C. Medical Journal shows the Greater Vancouver area had the largest absolute number of telemedicine users, but the Peace River region had the highest number of users per 1,000 residents. Two-thirds of all users were female and the mean age was 31.5.

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