Virtual health in remote work: How telemedicine is set to change employee benefits

It seems as if there's an app for practically everything – and health is no exception

Virtual health in remote work: How telemedicine is set to change employee benefits

This article was written in conjunction with TELUS Health.

More than ever before, employers are investing and making concerted efforts to support employees with their health and wellness needs. If an employee feels good, it often improves their quality of work – that’s tantamount to boosted morale, heightened productivity, and reduced absenteeism. 

Due to the pandemic, we’re moving to a more digitized way of living – it seems as if there’s an app for practically everything – and health is no exception. 

A recent survey by Leger for TELUS Health shed light on one area of the emerging digital health sector and provided insights and considerations for employers in how they can leverage new technology to help their teams manage their wellbeing remotely. 

Virtual pharmacy – the natural next step in Canada’s digital health evolution 

Data from the survey highlighted that one third of Canadians have missed picking up their prescription medications from their pharmacy – with 60% of these people citing forgetfulness and 50% citing that they were busy with work or family commitments. This is where TELUS Health’s Virtual Pharmacy comes in. It’s a convenient way for Canadians to securely access and manage their, and their family’s, prescription medications and connect privately with a licensed Canadian pharmacist – while saving time in having to physically go into their local pharmacy to access these services. 

As the needs of a modern workforce continue to evolve, employees are hungry for benefits and perks that don’t just entertain but improve and enhance their lives. Services such as Virtual Pharmacy help employees manage their own wellness – reminding them of prescription refills and couriering medicines to their homes or discreetly to their place of work, if preferred. 

HR plays a key role in communicating the benefits of digital health services

Research from Mercer found that while the majority of large companies offer some form of telemedicine, just nine percent of employees actually take advantage of it. What’s more, data from the Leger-TELUS Health survey found that one quarter of respondents did not know that digital pharmacy services even exist. This divide could be accounted for by a sheer lack of awareness of the telemedicine sector in general, but it highlights an opportunity for HR to play a bigger role in fully communicating to employees what digital health services are available to them – such as a virtual pharmacy, and fully explaining how to use them in their day-to-day lives. Either way, it’s unfortunate to see so few workers understanding, and taking advantage of, the benefits of new virtual care solutions – especially in today’s remote workplace. 

Maintaining one-on-one connections remotely 

Anxiety and fear only grew throughout the pandemic – with employees reluctant to make changes to their healthcare routines. But it was clear that people across Canada still valued engaging their healthcare providers, albeit virtually. A recent report from Canada Health Infoway found that one third of all healthcare appointments for Canadians are now virtual and almost half of patients across the country have been offered the option of a virtual appointment by their healthcare provider.

That’s why investing in digital health services that facilitate remote diagnosis and prescription delivery will be key in 2022 and beyond. And these services still provide the human connection for those who value it – while TELUS Health’s Virtual Pharmacy is a digital service, employees can still enjoy that much-needed one-to-one support with users having the ability to book video and phone consultations with experienced, licensed Canadian pharmacists where and when they want to connect. 

The message for HR leaders is clear. As we move forward into the new year, all eyes should be on the health and wellbeing of your employees. And, after all, any organizational benefit that makes that process easier and more intuitive can only be a great thing. 

Learn more about the benefits of TELUS Health’s Virtual Pharmacy and how it can support your employees in this vital area of healthcare. 

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