MONTREAL -- More than 1.5 million Quebecers have consulted with their doctors through telemedicine since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This new way of proceeding – either by telephone or videoconference – has gained traction since March 16, when it was deemed the safest way to protect patients and doctors from the risk of spreading or catching the virus.

According to figures from the Régie l'assurance-maladie du Québec (RAMQ), 6,625 general practitioners billed more than 1 million patients for teleconsultation procedures from March 16 to June 8, as did 4,565 medical specialists for more than 400,000 patients.

In total, upwards of 11,000 doctors carried out appointments using this method and a total of 1.5 million Quebecers consulted them.

The figures associated to telemedicine might even be higher, considering figures for June weren’t compiled and doctors have 120 days before they have to bill the RAMQ for their procedures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2020.