Have you heard about the new trend in virtual health care? Technology is not only changing benefits but the health care system as well. To complement in-person care, there are now virtual health care platforms that allow patients to book a video call with registered medical professionals from anywhere, and Canadians are taking note. According to the Canadian Medical Association, seven in 10 Canadians say they would take advantage of virtual physician visits, and those between the ages of 18 to 34, heavy users of the health system, and parents support it the most.
Two Main Benefits of Virtual Health Care
1) Helps to solve number one workplace concern: mental health
Did you know that one of the main causes of mental health issues is workplace stress? In fact, in a 2017 study of 1,575 respondents, 78% said they were missing work due to mental health concerns. It’s also estimated that in any given week, at least 500,000 Canadians are calling in sick due to a mental health problem. And, according to a 2013 report by the Conference Board of Canada, companies lose approximately $16.6 billion a year due to absenteeism from mental health issues.
Mental health poses a large problem for employers. It’s important they recognize the growing issue in stress within the workplace. Virtual health care means employees can get in contact with and be treated by a licensed therapist from anywhere, at their convenience. They’ll be able to better manage their mental health because they’d be able to reach for help as soon as they need it, even when they’re at work and are feeling overwhelmed.
Mental health can also be a hard topic to open up about. Providing support with virtual options can be much more successful in making employees feel comfortable reaching out for help. It can be much easier to share your mental state via text than it is in person. Plus, with video call, patients can seek help from the comfort of their homes, avoiding the fear of being seen or recognized at their neighbourhood clinic.
2) Helps improve work productivity, leading to a better work-life balance
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 58% of Canadians feel overwhelmed when it comes to balancing work, home and social life, along with their health. Plus, employees are 58% more likely to indicate their work is negatively affected due to tiredness or fatigue, 41% due to difficulty concentrating, and 39% due to having to take time off for health care appointments. It’s no wonder it’s hard for many to be productive at work!
Your clients’ employees could be missing work for not just their own doctor appointments, but if they have children or pets, they need to take time off to attend to their illnesses as well. This also creates a ripple effect, because the more time off employees take, the more backlog of work they’ll receive, resulting in more stress and more need for time off due to illness. This is not a good recipe for productivity in the workplace or in life.
Virtual health care is a game changer when it comes to work-life balance and reducing work absenteeism. Rather than having to make appointments months in advance, having to leave work to take their sick child to a walk-in clinic, or waiting on test results from multiples specialists to resolve a health issue, employees can make virtual visits at their convenience, without needing to take time off work. They also have more access to tools that can help them manage stress throughout the week, so that they can be more productive at work and in their day-to-day life.
The Virtual Health Care Options Honeybee Offers
Honeybee is continually adding new partners to its digital platform to help improve the well-being of Canadian employees. Here are a few of the virtual health care platforms that are available under Honeybee benefits:
Honeybee offers Akira, a Canadian virtual health care platform that gives employees and their families access to numerous certified physicians, such as family doctors, mental health therapists, dieticians, nutritionists, and naturopathic doctors. Patients can book video sessions from anywhere, on their time, with easy follow-ups via messaging. They can also receive prescriptions, lab requisitions, specialist referrals, and access to their health records. All of this is done virtually, from the home or office, without requiring a visit to the doctor. The best part is that it is included with every Honeybee health plan (and available as an add-on to other non-Honeybee Benecaid plans).
Certain illnesses require second opinions, especially when it’s a matter of life or death. To give employees and their families peace of mind during difficult times of health, Honeybee offers Best Doctors, a platform that saves time and provides the most accurate diagnosis. Rather than having to wait to see different specialists in-person, Best Doctors provides patients with expert and quicker diagnosis from a group of physicians in one go, without the need to leave your home.
Shepell’s EFAP offers employees and their family members with counselling options to support any issues related to work, health or life. These include professional counselling in-person, over the phone, through video calls, online groups, mobile, online chat, and text-based self guides. There are also naturopathic services, and nutrition, fitness and stress support, to name a few. The platform is available 24/7, online and via the My EAP app.
While in-person care is still necessarily under certain circumstances, virtual health care can help save employees valuable time and decrease work absenteeism, which is why it’s important to have a benefits plan that provides coverage for both. Benefits should improve the health and well-being of employees, and by providing more options for them to do that, employers will be improving morale in the workplace.
Contact your Executive Benefits Consultant or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on Honeybee’s virtual health care partnerships. Also reach out to discover how you can easily add Honeybee to your clients’ existing benefits without changing their current group plan.