Why digital health is here to stay
Editor’s note: the following includes excerpts of “Why digital health care is here to stay following pandemic”, published on benefitscanada.com.
Digital health is now a permanent feature of health care, says Colleen Adams, Manager of Health and Digital Product Solutions at Medavie Blue Cross.
In speaking at Benefits Canada’s 2021 Tech Insights: Spring Edition conference, Colleen referenced a recent survey indicating 60% of health-care visits are now taking place virtually, compared to just 20% pre-pandemic. “When we talk about delivering real value, the data is telling us that digital health is here to stay.”
This, she explains, has positive impacts for all stakeholders — plan sponsors, plan members and the public at large.
“Incorporating access to these services within benefits plans will be key to enabling true digital health navigation into supporting a healthy, productive and engaged employee population.”
That’s why Medavie created Connected Care, a digital health platform available on the insurer’s member services site and mobile app, in the fall of 2019. The platform offers a variety of health solutions through partner organizations, from telehealth to pharmacogenetic testing to digital therapy.
It combines all services that plan members are able to access through their benefits plan or health-care spending account, as well as preferred pricing for services that would involve out-of-pocket expenses for members. It’s available to all Medavie plan members at no cost to plan sponsors and can be accessed in both English and French.
Connected Care goal
The goal of Connected Care is to provide “faster, easier access to high-quality health care in a cost-effective way for plan sponsors and plan members,” says Adams.
Plan members have direct online access to a physician through telehealth provider Maple, as well as mental-health solutions including internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy and live virtual counselling. The majority of Medavie members who’ve used the insurer’s digital therapy providers have come through the app.
Also among Connected Care’s services is access to and preferred pricing for a platform of approved physiotherapists, which has specialized software to help with treatment and online exercise libraries to help address the impact on plan members of not being able to see physiotherapists in-person during the pandemic.
To ensure plan members get the most out of the experience, Medavie provides education to help them understand what’s offered and how it fits within their plan. The insurer also wants to use the platform to encourage plan members to be more proactive in managing their health and well-being.
“As people become more comfortable logging into digital health platforms like Connected Care to consult a doctor, get physio treatments, order pharmacogenetics testing or receive counselling, we’ll continue to ask ourselves how we can connect our members with other health practitioners, services and solutions from the comfort and privacy of their homes.
As COVID-19 has taught us, there may be things on the health-care horizon that we can’t fully anticipate.”
Read the full article below (available in English).