Navigating the Future: The Imperative Rise of Virtual Healthcare in Employee Benefits
November 28, 2023
SEB Marketing Team
Telemedicine has been around since the creation of the telephone especially as an efficient means to organize prescriptions and communicate test results. The pandemic, however, ushered in a new age of virtual healthcare providing lasting solutions for ever-evolving medical needs. Health care costs continue to rise, people are living longer than ever, and chronic illnesses continue to pressure the medical community for more efficient and accessible solutions. For employers in large and small companies, understanding the pressing need for virtual healthcare and integrating it into employee benefits plans is becoming not just a trend but a strategic imperative.
Social distancing measures and lockdowns necessitated a rapid shift from traditional in-person medical consultations to virtual visits. This shift not only ensured continuity in healthcare delivery but also laid the foundation for a new era in medical services—one that transcends geographical boundaries and time constraints.
The New Healthcare Systems: Virtual healthcare is no longer a temporary solution; it has evolved into a comprehensive and permanent facet of the healthcare ecosystem. Digital or Virtual Healthcare offers an array of platforms and apps to streamline healthcare delivery. Companies such as Gotodoctor are leading the way in connecting public healthcare systems with employees who need it, making themselves a leader in virtual care providers. They provide general assessments, lab requisitions, paediatrician consultations, prescriptions and renewals, and health and wellness services.
Statistics Speak Volumes: The adoption of virtual healthcare options help maximize benefits, reduces wait times, and directs people to the resources they need. Virtual platforms that can canvas the local areas for registered professionals also provide access to services employees might not have known was an option. Fifty-five percent Canadians have used virtual care at least once. Evidence points to the possibility that management of chronic issues through virtual consultations can save up to 5 billion dollars a year. Other statistics point to the continued use of digital consultations, fitness and wellbeing, and treatment and care which help employees improve their health and wellbeing.
The New Healthcare Systems: Health Canada put out a report focusing on virtual care and stating clearly that it is no longer an “adjunct therapy; it is a core part of out publicly-funded health delivery system.” Access to virtual records, consultations, and messaging by providers is now available to patients as their choice, except when physical appointments are required for clinical reasons. Not to mention, access to more advanced diagnostic capabilities creates reduces costs and inefficiencies from an overburdened system. Online platforms connect healthcare professionals and service providers to those in need.
Employee Wellbeing and Productivity: For employers, the integration of virtual healthcare into employee benefits plans goes beyond fulfilling a regulatory requirement—it’s a strategic move that directly impacts the wellbeing and productivity of their workforce. Offering virtual healthcare services as part of employee benefits not only aligns with the public health care system, but preventative measures such as coaching for chronic ailments also addresses practical challenges such as reducing absenteeism and enhancing overall job satisfaction. Employers supporting virtual health care options demonstrates a commitment to the health of the workforce.
Cost-Efficiency and Long-Term Sustainability: Beyond the immediate advantages, the inclusion of virtual healthcare in employee benefits plans offers significant cost-efficiency. Reduced time away from work, lower healthcare facility costs, and enhanced preventive care contribute to a healthier bottom line for employers. Better access to solutions including fitness programs and naturopathy with the intent of offering more collaborative solutions with a holistic approach to care are proving to be pillars of an evolving approach to health and wellness. Moreover, virtual healthcare aligns with the broader trend of sustainability, as it minimizes the environmental impact associated with traditional healthcare practices.
The rise of virtual healthcare is a strategic evolution in the approach to healthcare delivery. Employers in large and small companies have a unique opportunity to lead the charge in prioritizing the wellbeing of their workforce by integrating virtual healthcare into their benefits plans. This move is not only in tune with the times but also essential for staying competitive and fostering a resilient, thriving workforce in the modern era.
SEB has partnered with Gotodoctor.ca to provide access to comprehensive in-person and virtual healthcare for employees and their families across Canada. Read more about it here.