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Eight in 10 Canadian employees want virtual health-care coverage: Report

Canadians are increasingly ready for telemedicine, and have strong opinions about it


Canadians are warming up to virtual health-care, and many expect their employers to provide coverage, according to new research.

According to the Canadian Attitudes on Healthcare and Telemedicine Report, 70 per cent of respondents believe virtual care represents the future.

The research was sponsored by  virtual healthcare provider Dialogue and conducted by Environics Research to understand Canadians’ attitudes toward healthcare and telemedicine. The report reveals that demand for more convenient virtual care services is on the rise, with nearly half of respondents (46 per cent) stating COVID-19 has made it more difficult to access healthcare.

“Keeping employees safe and providing the appropriate care for their teams is expected from employers now more than ever,” says Jeff Gladwish, vice-president of marketing at Dialogue.

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“Employers are recognizing that providing employees with access to quality health and well-being resources has a direct connection to workplace productivity as well as the overall health of their business. This report confirms that while Canadians are increasingly ready for telemedicine, they also have strong viewpoints and preferences on what they expect in their virtual care experience.”

Key findings

Other key findings from the research include:

  • While the majority of Canadians have access to a family physician, 46 per cent say it would take more than four days to see a healthcare professional for a minor health concern and 22 per cent say it would take more than a week.
  • When choosing a potential virtual care platform, the following five key attributes accounted for 76 per cent of the decision-making process:
    • Accessibility (strong preference for availability through an employer or organizational benefit plan)
    • How the appointment is conducted (strong preference for patient choice between phone, video, text or chat)
    • Appointment timing (strong preference for allowing a patient to schedule based on their availability)
    • Mental health support (strong preference for programs that offer mental health support through general practitioners or mental health specialists)
    • Follow-ups (strong preference for post-consultation follow-ups by a healthcare professional to ensure treatment success)
  • An overwhelming majority of working Canadians (82 per cent) agree their employer should provide access to virtual healthcare
  • Two-thirds of Canadians (66 per cent) report they would be likely to use virtual healthcare if it was available through their benefits plan.
  • 75 per cent of Canadians indicated that they would prefer to consult with the right medical professional for their specific issue (whether a nurse, doctor, mental health specialist, etc.) versus a more general practitioner.

Virtual event on virtual health-care

Talent Canada magazine, in partnership with Akira by Telus Health, is offering a free virtual event exploring the new realm of virtual health-care.

The event runs later today, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. ET. Register today at https://www.talentcanada.ca/virtual-events/future-of-work-virtual-health-care/