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New smartphone app gives Albertans access to virtual health care during COVID-19 pandemic

Albertans are being offered a new tool for getting medical advice without having to go to a doctor's office — an option that's suddenly become more desirable amid the COVID-19 emergency.

Babylon mobile app allows you to check symptoms, consult with doctors

Using Babylon, an app developed by Telus Health, patients can have one-to-one video consultations with doctors, with the cost of those virtual visits covered by the Government of Alberta. (Telus Health)

Albertans are being offered a new tool for getting medical advice without having to go to a doctor's office — an option that's suddenly become more desirable amid the COVID-19 emergency.

Using the downloadable app Babylon, developed by Telus Health, Albertans can now meet with licensed physicians in one-on-one video consultations through their smartphone, the province said in a release Thursday.

The app can be used to check symptoms — including those of COVID-19 — book appointments, see a doctor and get prescriptions and referrals, all covered under Alberta's public health-care insurance.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the joint initiative with Telus Health comes at a time when the health system is asking people to self-isolate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Using this app is an alternative to visiting physicians face-to-face when you're not sure if your symptoms are related to the novel coronavirus or at any other time," he said.

The service is already being offered in British Columbia.

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