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Digital health tech supports seniors during COVID-19


Seniors are one of the most vulnerable groups at increased risk of severe complications related to COVID-19; and recent outbreaks in some seniors’ care facility homes are causing additional strain on an already fragile population. But for residents of Group Selection, state of the art telemedicine technology is offering a glimmer of hope into new alternatives for care delivery amid COVID-19 – at a time when access to health professionals has never been more critical.

Seniors are more connected than ever

With the presence of co-morbidity, weakened immune systems and other health issues, many seniors require extra support in the wake of the pandemic. At the same time, new technology like virtual reality and robotics is helping them live healthier lives; and recent data suggests that 70% of seniors are connected to the internet and are using it to stay informed and connect to loved ones. This increased interest in technology is paving the way for products and services to help them manage their own health and keep them connected with their circle of care.

Increasing access to healthcare amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Recently, a large retirement complex developer in Quebec, Selection Group, began offering Akira by TELUS Health to its 15,000 residents, 5,000 employees and spouses. The technology offers them free and safe access to a virtual care service, which allows them to have secure chat and video consultations with healthcare professionals when and where they need it. The service is available 24/7 and through the app, clinicians offer medical advice, diagnose illnesses, mental health support and prescribe medications that can be delivered by the pharmacy. Residents can also be referred to specialists, should need be.

“Selection Group’s vision of real estate places people at the heart of our priorities and we are constantly listening to our residents and employees. We are always looking for innovative ways to offer them the best services. Our teams worked tirelessly since the start of this pandemic. Our goal was to find a solution to enable them to access the services of health professionals during this critical time” said Réal Bouclin, Founding President and Chief Executive Officer, Selection Group.

A healthier future with a dose of technology

We know that technology, apps and connectivity can play a critical role in keeping our seniors engaged socially and allowing them to live independently. From a healthcare perspective, there is a great desire to develop and support innovations that specifically address the challenges facing aging populations. The integration of technology is key for creating healthier and happier Canadians – regardless of age.

TELUS Health offers virtual care services for everyone

TELUS Health is committed to supporting Canadians and healthcare professionals with integrated technologies that promote safety, security and support better home and community-based care delivery. Some examples include:

  • With TELUS Health Virtual Care, employers can support their team’s physical and mental health by giving them access to 24/7 on-demand healthcare. Available via smartphone or computer, in French and English, it instantly connects employees and their family members to Canadian healthcare providers through secure text and video chat. Members benefit from medical advice, referrals to specialists, requests for new prescriptions or refills, wellness services and access to registered mental health specialists.

  • Babylon by TELUS Health is a healthcare mobile app that offers l video consultations with licensed in-province doctors on a smartphone to residents of B.C. and Alberta as well as those in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also across the country, Canadians can use the Artificial Intelligence powered Symptom Checker to analyze symptoms and suggest courses of action. This free app can be used to help relieve the current stresses on our healthcare system while reducing the risk of catching or spreading illnesses.

  • Our personal medical alert services, TELUS LivingWell Companion and DirectAlert by TELUS Health, are keeping elderly Canadians safe while allowing them to maintain their independence. An optional fall detection feature or simple push of a button will enable two-way communication with a trained operator who can contact family members or dispatch emergency services if necessary. Caregivers benefit from greater peace of mind, knowing that their loved ones have easy access to 24/7 emergency support.

  • Remote patient monitoring such as TELUS Home Health Monitoring uses tele/video health and connected devices like digital blood pressure cuffs to empower seniors with improved self-care options from the comfort of their own home. Remote monitoring of biometrics can also reduce the progression of chronic disease and allow for intervention before an acute health event occurs. In the wake of the pandemic, TELUS expanded it’s Home Health Monitoring (HHM) technology to allow healthcare professionals to virtually monitor and support COVID-19 patients. Patients monitor and report on their biometric information such as temperature, physical symptoms and overall health condition through an app. And care teams remotely monitor their COVID-19 patients remotely. The information shared between the patient and the care team ensures the well-being of patients and rapid intervention when patients are in need of additional care.