Canadian HR Reporter

April 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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Virtual care > pg. 1 2 N E W S in Canada, so employers need to find a way to differentiate themselves, to keep their employees, to engage them and so forth," says Julie Duchesne, Mercer Marsh Benefits leader in Montreal. "Their number one challenge right now is attracting and retaining employees, so I think it's going to grow really fast." Making the case The case for virtual care has become a no-brainer, says Zack Brown, VP of sales at Dialogue in Montreal, provider of telehealth services. While we're fortunate to live in a country with universal access to care, there is an accessibility problem and virtual care is a great way to relieve the public system, while adding value to the payer, meaning the HR professional and the employee, he says. "This is why we've seen such a great uptick in demand." Virtual care as a service allows employees more free time and helps with absenteeism. On average, employees using the platform said they save more than four hours per consultation, he says. The main value proposition is about absenteeism and reducing unnecessary absences. "That's the ROI piece for employers who are looking to invest in this," says Christy Prada, VP of business development at telemedicine provider Maple in Toronto. "[It's about] instant and direct connection to a physician in less than two minutes. So what that means is employees who historically maybe needed to take half the day off to go to the walk-in clinic for something that is But if employees are empowered to be proactive about their health and wellness, "it's pretty easy to imagine how a service like this could curb costs related to short- term and long-term disability." The perceived value of virtual health solutions is also high, he says. Providing employees and their families with unlimited access to a virtual clinic 24-7 may sound like the employer is paying a lot more for the service than they really are. "That allows this to be a really effective recruitment tool." In looking to enhance its offerings to both attract and retain top talent, Samsung Canada added Dialogue's virtual health-care platform to its benefits program in January 2019 so Canadian employees could access a doctor from virtually anywhere, for free, says Anna-Lisa Prencipe, senior director of human resources and corporate affairs in Mississauga, Ont. "This was an exciting addition to our total rewards offerings because this cutting-edge technology allows us to support employee wellness and encourages employees to take a proactive approach to their overall health. Employees can also share this benefit with their family members," she says, adding the service should also help reduce absenteeism and presenteeism, while increasing productivity. The services offered through the platform cover a range of health issues such as: feeling sick (such as nasal congestion or fever); pain or injury (such as joint pain); stress and wellness; prescriptions; and referrals. And employees are taking advantage, most an emergent primary care issue or go and spend the night in the emergency room when their child is screaming with an infection. Now we give them the access to a doctor right away from their phone." When it comes to cost, most employers take advantage of the unlimited model whereby they' ll pay Maple a monthly fee per head, and the employee has unlimited access for themselves and their family, she says. There are also employers with a reduced budget that prefer a capped model with a limited number of visits per year. The price might range from $5 per employee per month at a larger employer to $10 at a smaller employer, depending on the service selected, says Brown. often for dermatology, ear, nose and throat (ENT) and gastrointestinal issues, says Prencipe. Retention benefits Nearly four out of 10 (39 per cent) employers belie ve promoting or sponsoring digital health solutions will help with staff retention — although 46 per cent believe it will make no difference, found Mercer's global survey of 15,564 workers and 1,300 senior decision-makers (including 1,066 and 100 in Canada, respectively). And more than one in four (26 per cent) of workers say they are more likely to remain with their employer if it offers digital health solutions — although 54 per cent say it makes no difference. One out of four is a big number, says Duchesne. "If you think about that and look at the turnover rate, if you just decrease it by one per cent, for example, that's going to have a big impact on your financials... It's hard to quantify the impact, but if you think about it from an engagement perspective, from having a more productive workforce, and even just simply the turnover rate, if you can have an impact on one person, out of those 26 per cent, this is huge. So, it's really a matter of value for investment; that's what we're looking at." Offering this benefit is a really interesting way to attract and retain talent, says Brown. "It's a great way for an employer to further position themselves as a top employer who cares deeply about the health, wellness and well-being of their QUALITY OF CARE IMPORTANT Top factors in choosing where to get health care Source: Mercer "This cutting-edge technology allows us to support employee wellness and encourages employees to take a proactive approach to their overall health." Anna-Lisa Prencipe, Samsung Canada quality of care 97% cost 95% reputation of medical care provider/access to treatments/location 96% wait times 95%

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