Every week, 350,000 Canadians visit their doctor without leaving their house. We will most likely see that number grow as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the delivery of health care.
There are many aspects of in-person visits to the doctor that could never be replaced by virtual means. However, some patients may find it more convenient to see a doctor virtually if they live in a remote region, have challenges arranging time off work, have mobility issues, need a prescription renewal, or want to ask a question.
Digital Health Week, beginning November 14, is a time to shine a light on the importance of accessing information about our health, and to learn about the digital solutions – like virtual care — that can offer a more convenient way of accessing health care services.
Virtual care involves the scheduling of appointments between a patient and health care provider over the phone, by video, or through secure messaging. There are a number of practitioners available for virtual appointments, including but not limited to family doctors, specialists, and other health professionals such as occupational therapists, podiatrists, optometrists, and pharmacists. Mental health services are also available virtually through psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and counsellors.
Digital technologies have the ability to improve the delivery of health care by allowing health care teams to share information more efficiently, leading to faster diagnoses and treatments. Patients are able to access their health records and documents and can make better informed decisions.
In 2021, the number of Canadians who had at least one virtual health care visit increased from the previous year. They also reported positive experiences with their virtual encounters and welcomed more of them as part of their routines.
As more Canadians recover from burnout during the pandemic and prefer to work remotely, employers are focused on retaining top talent. Offering competitive employee benefits packages with convenient access to virtual care can help employers set themselves apart and show an interest in making the mental and physical health of their employees a priority.
Here are 3 reasons why employers are offering virtual health care in employee benefits plans:
Employers should consider how virtual health care options will integrate into their current benefits offerings. We’re here to help. If you have questions about where to start or whether you should offer virtual care, contact us so we can work together to create solutions that work best for you and your organization.