Canadians looking for employer-provided telehealth

Many people frustrated by excessive wait times, lack of choice: Survey

Canadians looking for employer-provided telehealth
Two-thirds (66 per cent) of Canadians say they would likely use virtual healthcare if it was available through their benefits plan.

Eighty per cent of Canadians say their employer should provide access to virtual care or telemedicine, according to a survey released by Dialogue.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) also report they would be likely to use telehealth if it was available through their benefits plan.

Maybe that’s because nearly half of respondents (46 per cent) say COVID-19 has made it more difficult to access health care, finds the survey of 1,514 Canadians from Sept. 14-21, 2020.

In April, 55 per cent of patient visits, physician-to-physician consultations and psychotherapy were provided online or by phone, according to a report.

And while most Canadians have access to a family physician, 46 per cent say it would take more than four days to see a health-care professional for a minor health concern and 22 per cent say it would take more than a week.

Over half of those surveyed report frustrations with excessive wait times at clinics, a lack of choice in appointment times, and being directed to the wrong healthcare professional, says the report Canadian Attitudes on Healthcare and Telemedicine.

“While Canadians enjoy universal access to health care, in practice, those seeking care sometimes encounter barriers, frustrations and lost hours. Virtual healthcare is a potential solution, benefiting employees as well as employers striving to keep their employees healthy and productive.”

Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of Canadians say they would be comfortable using virtual care for mental health support.

Tips on choosing a provider

Telus Health says that when choosing a virtual care provider, employers should assess if it’s proven, strategic, scalable, comprehensive and secure:

Proven: Ask for evidence that shows they have a good track record with top employers and some quantifiable results in terms of use rates, speed of service, employee feedback and the ROI of their solution.

Strategic: Consider the overall experience for your employees and their families, and for you as an employer, to get the most value out of the investment.

Scalable: Make scalability a top consideration so that employees’ needs will be met as their expectations change.

Comprehensive: Choose a partner that can build a comprehensive care solution tailored for employees, with options such as mental health or asynchronous consultations.

Secure: Ensure the provider has expertise in complying with Canada’s complex privacy and healthcare regulations, and that you understand where patient data is stored and who has access to it.

Back in February, various medical groups called for a national standard to better manage virtual health care.

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