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Benefits Canada | 2019 Group Benefits Providers Report

Originally published in Benefits Canada on April 12, 2019 by Alethea Spiridon

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This is likely due to the country’s siloed health-care system, with each province and jurisdiction taking its own approach. Streamlining the systems would be far more cost-effective and efficient, says Angela Copeland, board vice-president at Digital Heath Canada, though she notes it can take upwards of almost 10 years to make changes in the health-care sector.

But the outlook for digital health innovations is very positive, says Ryan Weiss, assistant vice-president of market development, group customer experience and marketing at Great-West Life Assurance Co. The industry has seen a lot of changes in the past 10 years, he says, and this is expected to continue over the next decade.

It’s a matter of bringing pieces together, whether that’s delivering care virtually, using data and analytics or engaging employees in ways to keep them healthy, says Weiss. As well, it will allow insurers to “do much more at scale for a lower cost to our plan sponsors,” while digital benefits and platforms will “allow a much richer exchange and engagement with members.”

Staples Canada, which is looking to provide its employees with more digital health offerings, partnered with Sun Life and Beacon, an online support service aimed at helping Canadians improve their mental and emotional well-being, including internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy.

“We’re very encouraged by the studies that show the success rates of iCBT training,” says Katherine Tilsley, senior director of total health rewards and human resources information service at Staples Canada.

And since the beginning of 2018, L’Oréal Canada has offered employees a digital health service called EQ Care, which provides online access to family doctors, nurses and specialists through a computer, tablet or smartphone.

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