Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/3/2016 (2080 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The only Manitoban to ever play in the NFL is looking to relaunch a health-care service that used to be commonplace decades ago but has since become a rarity — the house call.
Israel Idonije, who starred primarily for the Chicago Bears during his 11-year professional career, is one of the founders of Ask the Doctor, an online portal that gives people around the world the ability to send in a medical or health-related question via email, text, phone or video chat, and have it answered by a real doctor.
The house-call service, which was recently launched in Ontario, is covered by OHIP, that province’s health insurance plan, and the same coverage would exist in Manitoba, said Prakash Chand, CEO of Ask the Doctor.
"There’s a level of comfort having direct access to a doctor 24-7," he said, noting the Manitoba launch will be in the next few months.
There are about a dozen physicians in the province contributing to the portal. It costs $18 to have a general practitioner answer a basic question and $35 to consult a specialist. You can even get a second opinion from a doctor at the Mayo Clinic for more than $500.
Dr. Jay Hingwala, a Winnipeg-based nephrologist, has been advising Ask the Doctor for two years. He said the need for its services is particularly acute in Manitoba, where the population is so spread out geographically.
Hingwala has patients with kidney problems fly in from as far away as Nunavut and northwestern Ontario, which is very costly on the health system.
"Our wait times are massive. It’s several months to see us for a consultation. Answering questions (via Ask the Doctor) cannot only calm a patient down, but it could potentially lower the wait times," he said.
Idonije met Chand at the University of Manitoba campus 20 years ago. He was a nationally ranked badminton player, and they used to train together in the not-so-dearly departed Gritty Grotto gym. They stayed in touch over the years, and when Chand contacted Idonije about partnering on Ask the Doctor six years ago, he was only too happy to join the team.
"Regardless of your economic background or where you are in the world, if you have access to the Internet and access to a smartphone, you can have access to a doctor," Idonije said.
He said far too many people use the Internet for their medical advice, which could come from anyone.