Healthcare in the Palm of Your Hands

Book medical appointments through Babylon by TELUS Health

Jayde Atchison // Staff Writer 

For many students, maintaining health can easily get lost in the shuffle of university activities. With that in mind, Telus has created an app that helps students keep up with their well-being. Babylon by Telus Health, which was launched March 5, is a free app that aims to provide virtual medical care. Once downloaded, the app’s user-friendly interface allows users to book medical appointments, discuss medical concerns, fill prescriptions, and virtually speak one-on-one with a B.C. licensed physician over their smartphones. “[It] also allows students to book a doctor’s appointment in minutes, access doctor consultation notes and video consult recordings for a quick reference, manage their prescriptions and preferred pharmacy locations and receive referrals for diagnostic tests or specialist appointments,” Vice President of Consumer Health at Telus, Juggy Sihota said. 

Being a student often leaves little room for more than studying, writing papers and working on group projects. A few things students sacrifice when midterm season hits are fitness, dietary needs, sleep and health regulation. Sihota reflected on his time as a student, “I remember being in university and filling my days with classes, group study sessions and so many club activities that I hardly had any time for myself.”

With the expansion of smartphone technology, virtual help is becoming more common. Due to increased wait times at clinics and a shortage of family doctors, there has been a boom of therapy-based apps in recent years, providing the opportunity to speak with trained professionals 24/7. Babylon by TELUS Health differs from other apps in that it is free to download and doctor consultants are covered by B.C’s Medical Services Plan (MSP). “Imagine being able to check on the seriousness of your symptoms, talk to a doctor and manage your prescriptions without having to leave the comfort of your dorm room” Sihota said.

While the app provides many positive features, it does not replace in-person health care services. According to a report by the CBC, some experts warn that the technology has yet to produce infallible results. The symptom checker, for one, relies on artificial intelligence and can only provide information, not advice. This has the potential to create a grey area, and should not be seen as a replacement for face-to-face consultations. Students are still encouraged to access professionals through Capilano University’s Health & Counselling Services. These services are typically available during the peak school hours, and are covered in tuition costs. With that said, Babylon has the opportunity to fill a gap in after-hour health care, and can provide convenient and timely information which can serve to relieve anxiety for students when campus is closed. 

 Telus has been working towards bettering health for over ten years, and is currently the biggest health-care information technology company in Canada. Since Telus has partnered with the Ministry of Health, Babylon is covered with MSP. Users must verify their identity by taking a photo of either their passport, driver’s license, national identity card or residence permit card. International students are encouraged to speak to CapU’s Health Centre to learn more about registering for MSP and other healthcare options. 

For more information on the app students are encouraged to find more information here.

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