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Attracting and retaining talent: virtual healthcare has the edge

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This article was originally published in Le Devoir on October 8, 2022. It has been translated and reposted with their permission.  

In today’s job market, companies that want to stand out can no longer solely rely on competitive salaries to attract and retain talent. In this regard, a benefits portfolio that includes personalized health services and access to virtual care can make all the difference.

From digital transformation and inclusive management to a culture of wellness and telework, the business world is changing, and employee benefits need to keep up with these new trends. Currently, job seekers see the quality of a company’s benefits as a clear indication of how that organization treats its employees. That’s why personalized healthcare programs that promote empowerment, digital platforms, access to virtual care, and prevention tools are essential to ensuring employee engagement and an overall healthy workforce. 

One thing is certain: the pandemic played a key role in how people perceive virtual care. With clinics and doctors’ offices closed as a precautionary measure, virtual consultations became the norm for primary care, and increasingly, for mental health support. Workers faced extended periods of uncertainty, stress and isolation, giving rise to a marked increase in concerns such as anxiety and burnout. This highlighted the importance of not only offering mental health support, but also of promoting it to employees.

A cutting-edge digital solution.

Over the past decades, TELUS Health, a division of the Canadian telecommunications technology company, has introduced multiple virtual care solutions as well as a national network of medical clinics. Together, these services comprise a comprehensive benefits portfolio designed to help companies instill a culture based on health and wellbeing. The core services of this suite of solutions include TELUS Health Wellbeing, TELUS Health Virtual Care, and TELUS Health LifeJourneyTM.

Prevention to reduce risk. 

TELUS Health Wellbeing is designed to help employees and their families adopt healthy habits that will contribute to improving their overall health and enable them to achieve their personal quality-of-life goals. Human-centered and driven by machine learning and cognitive behavioural science, it offers users a personalized and ever-changing interactive experience. The solution features monthly programming that includes challenges and rewards, personalized communications, content, and insights to inform, motivate, and engage employees.

This solution is part of a comprehensive continuum of care. The ultimate goal: to help individuals live happier, healthier lives, and to enable employers to act effectively on the outcomes associated with the wellbeing of their employees. The measured benefits for users include a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, arthritis and low back pain, as well as a significant increase in physical activity levels.

A rising demand for virtual care.

Today, the main health benefits sought by employees are, unsurprisingly, basic dental coverage, eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses, as well as pension and retirement savings plans. Nonetheless, as a direct result of the pandemic, virtual healthcare has an edge and is increasingly being considered as essential.

To meet this growing demand, TELUS Health Virtual Care offers plan members access to primary and mental healthcare. Employees and their families have on-demand, 24/7 access to a wide range of personalized care services with no limitations on the number or duration of consultations.

Most notably, Virtual Care offers the ability to personally interact with a network of health professionals. A team of clinicians answers member requests through text or video consultations, all of which are encrypted to ensure confidentiality. Some of the services offered include prevention counseling, medical and diagnostic consultations, prescription management and refills, and referrals to specialists, medical imaging, and lab tests.

With mental health being particularly important in today’s environment, on-demand support is available from nurse practitioners 24/7.

Employers who include primary and mental health care in their benefits portfolios place the overall wellbeing of their employees at the heart of their business strategy. This approach plays a key role in reducing absenteeism, optimizing productivity, and ensuring the professional development of work teams.

One virtual point of entry. 

This suite of solutions is rounded out with TELUS Health LifeJourney, an employee assistance program that offers plan members a fully-integrated, one-stop virtual entry-point to care. LifeJourney uses a personalized approach, where care advocates consult with individuals virtually and coordinate their primary and mental healthcare appointments, nutrition consultations, and any work/life balance assistance they may need. These care advocates hold degrees in health-related fields such as nursing, psychology, and social work, and all have extensive experience in multidisciplinary clinical settings.

The preventative approach used by LifeJourney is accessible anywhere in Canada, in both official languages. It allows for a more balanced lifestyle that helps employees withstand stress and contributes to the prevention and better management of chronic diseases.

A springboard to optimize human resources.

Offering top-tier healthcare benefits to all employees, including those who work part-time or in temporary, occasional, and contract positions, places the overall wellness of teams at the forefront and plays a key role in reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity.

In all cases, regardless of the programs offered, organizations must ensure they clearly communicate the nature of the coverage available to employees, specifically regarding mental health and virtual healthcare. This is a strategy that should be adopted not only during recruitment and onboarding, but also on an ongoing basis throughout the employees’ career with the company. It’s the best way to ensure that the services offered achieve the desired results.

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