Maple offers its clients an alternative to sitting in a waiting room for hours on end to see a doctor. Brett Belchetz, an emergency room doctor, created this service after years of witnessing clients wait for issues that could be treated simply.
We’ve all had one of those nights where you wake up with a raging fever or with a sharp pain in your abdomen and you either have to get yourself up and off to the emergency room or wait until the next day and hope your doctor can squeeze you in. But what if there was an alternative to sitting in a waiting room for hours on end?
Brett Belchetz, an emergency room doctor from Toronto, has created just that. His new company, Maple, has redefined seeing the doctor. With this service, you can see a doctor from the comfort of your own home.
“What inspired me to start this company was the realization that about half of the people visiting emergency rooms here in Canada actually don’t have emergency room problems,” says Belchetz. “They actually have basic primary care issues and the reason why they’re going to the emergency room is that there’s nowhere else to go in our system.”
Founded in 2015, Maple already has tens of thousands of clients and hundreds of doctors from all across Canada that are ready and willing to help diagnose you and provide prescriptions.
Other services like Maple, which fall into the category of telemedicine, have been launched in other countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, where they have been met with resounding success. Belchetz was confident that providing this service to Canadians would prove to be just as successful. With a 98 per cent satisfaction rate, Maple has proved him right.
To use this service all you have to do is log on to the website or app, input your symptoms and wait to be seen by a doctor, which currently only takes about a minute and a half. “This is technology that is really, really straightforward and intuitive to use,” Belchetz tells us — even his 81-year-old father uses Maple effortlessly!
Maple doesn’t just help those who simply don’t have time to get to the emergency room or to wait to go see their family doctor. This service has allowed those who can’t leave their houses easily, like those with physical disabilities or mental health problems, or people living or working in rural areas, to quickly see a doctor and even get prescriptions delivered to them through the service’s partnership with Alliance Pharmacy.
This utilization of the Internet also means that no matter where you are, whether you’re at home, at university or even on vacation anywhere in the world, you can go online and see a Canadian doctor almost instantly.
Although this service is not covered by OHIP, it can be reimbursed through a health spending account and some employers have begun incorporating it into their coverage. “We wanted to make the service as affordable as it could be while being able to staff it with doctors,” says Belchetz.
Belchetz has countless aspirations for this company and he’s crushing them one by one. Currently Maple is in the process of expanding into the United States after partnering with a travel insurance company and it’s even forming a partnership with one of the Maritime provinces to staff rural hospitals that were on the brink of shutting down, all using telemedicine.