By: Colin Talwar
Robyn Stewart, a technology professional and business owner, moved to Nova Scotia from Ontario in June 2020.
Working a nine-to-five job and running a business, Stewart found it challenging to make an appointment at a walk-in clinic and was worried about going to an emergency department. She knew she would soon need to access primary care to get her prescriptions.
“My fear was that I would have to wait in an emergency room at some point if I wasn’t to get the walk-in clinic appointment,” said Stewart. “I don’t really want to be in an emergency room because of the exposure.”
After joining the Need a Family Practice Registry, she received an invitation from VirtualCareNS - a free virtual service that provides people on the Need a Family Practice Registry with temporary access to doctors and nurse practitioners.
“I decided to give VirtualCareNS a try. It was really simple. I loved that I set up a profile, and I saw a doctor in less than 45 minutes. That, to me, was amazing. I didn’t have to go to a waiting room,” explained Stewart. “I could continue working my day job. It was very convenient. When the doctor was ready to see you, they’d text you asking if you’re ready, so there’s no chance you’ll miss your appointment.”
Her previous doctor forwarded her health files and prescriptions promptly, and Robyn was relieved that the system could integrate that information easily.
“This was the first time I had to get these prescriptions refilled in Nova Scotia, and I didn’t have any difficulty getting them,” said Stewart. “In order to get these prescriptions, I just approved them right in the app, picked the pharmacy that I wanted to pick them up at and then got a notification from the pharmacy when they were ready to be picked up that same day. From a busy person’s perspective, it was incredibly convenient.”
Stewart highlighted that the quality of care received through this service is on par with a face-to-face doctor’s appointment and that people should take advantage of having this service available wherever they are.
“I actually felt like the physician on the other end of the phone did not feel at all rushed or was rushing me. They paid attention to the details, asked questions, and we had a very positive appointment experience,” said Stewart. “I was able to access the care that I needed without inconveniencing me or creating a burden on emergency services. That is a really important reason why I would encourage people to use the service.”
For more information about VirtualCareNS, visit: Virtual Care NS | Nova Scotia Health Authority (nshealth.ca)