The Future of Health Care – Babylon by TELUS Health
At ZLC Financial, we pride ourselves on working with our clients to find better ways for employee benefits. We are very proud to have been working with TELUS Health since 2018 on the emerging area of virtual health care. Virtual health care uses technology such as video, mobile Apps, text-based messaging and social platforms to deliver health services in a way that is not adversely impacted by time of day or location. It has the potential to save our health care systems billions of dollars in Canada, while materially reducing absenteeism and increasing employee engagement in workplace.
The first question that may come to mind is how is TELUS tied into the health care industry? Many people do not know that TELUS has been working in this area for over ten years and has already made over $2.5 Billion in investments into Canadian health care. Over 180,000 health care providers currently use TELUS health solutions, 50% of primary care physicians in Canada use TELUS, and they are already involved with 12,000,000 Canadians through their drug, extended health care and dental benefits programs. TELUS Health recently looked for a partner in virtual health care and decided upon Babylon, a global leader in the virtual health care space. Together Babylon and TELUS are significant health care stakeholders in Canada who have come together to provide doctors and patients in Canada with access to virtual health care technology solutions and services – seeing a doctor is now as easy as opening an App.
All Canadians currently face a crisis around health care. Approximately 5 million Canadians do not have a family doctor, 68% of Canadians avoided seeing a doctor due to barriers to access, 20% of Canadians reported waiting 7 days or longer to see a family doctor, and 40,000 Canadians visit the emergency room every year for minor ailments and wait between 4 and 24 hours. This crisis cascades into the workplace and adversely impacts employers. On average, employees miss 9.3 days of work per year for health reasons, which translates into $16 Billion of lost revenue in Canada due to health-related absenteeism. Untreated adverse health conditions can also drive significantly higher employee benefits plan costs. So, could a new solution help Canadians deal with this crisis in health care and lead to positive outcomes for both employee benefits plan sponsors and their employees. We believe, the answer is yes, and that the future is in virtual health care.
The Babylon by TELUS Health virtual health care solution is new to Canada, but Babylon has been active for several years around the world. Their “Enterprise” solution for Canadian plan sponsors has been designed for organizations to integrate into their employee benefits plan offering. This solution has several tangible features:
- CONVENIENCE – This virtual health care solution is available via the Bablyon by TELUS Health App, available for both Android and iPhones. This App provides an initial triage centre that helps to confirm symptoms, just like how a doctor would in an office, clinic or emergency room setting. After the triage process there is the ability to make an appointment on the App with a Canadian doctor. That doctor has access to all the triage information from the App, meets “face-to-face” with the patient on their Smart Phone and can then provide prescriptions and care. Appointments start promptly and are initiated by the doctor, which helps to save employees valuable time. All this information is stored within the App for future reference. These services are available at the convenience of the user, for example, from the comfort of their home, potentially with their spouse, while they are travelling for work or on vacation far from medical care, etc.
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE – The Babylon by TELUS Health solution is at the forefront of health care technology leveraging AI. Advances in AI continue throughout the world in various areas, and the impact to date has already been significant and the opportunities for the future are unlimited. Given the vast amount of medical information related to health care it is important to note that Babylon has already invested in this area and developed viable solutions, and these AI-driven solutions are transferrable around the world.
- EXPERTISE – The Babylon by TELUS Health virtual health care solution is the best of both worlds – combining the expertise of a high-tech company along with medical expertise of a team of experienced health care practitioners. This solution is then combined with the expertise of TELUS in the Canadian health care industry and their market leading position in telecommunications to deliver a virtual health care solution on a Smart Phone.
- TRACK RECORD – The Babylon solution has been successfully deployed to millions of users globally with a 4.7 out of 5 rating for their App. They are already trusted by hundreds of global companies as their virtual health care provider to deliver tangible results to their businesses. As well, Babylon challenged themselves to deliver health care in a 3rd world country environment and have already done so successfully in Rwanda – realistically, if they can do it there, they can do it anywhere.
- TANGIBLE ROI – Given that Babylon has been in operation for over 5 years, they have already been successfully delivering virtual health care, including partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is not simply a new high-tech company trying to figure it out. Babylon’s global solution is now going to be deployed in Canada leveraging the strength of TELUS’ telecommunications solutions and experience in Canadian health care. The benefits to employee benefits plan sponsors include reduced absenteeism, increased productivity through broader wellbeing, a competitive advantage to attract and retain key talent, access to aggregated employee population health data, and reduced stress and greater peace of mind for employees and their families.
Based on various media sources and survey information, the area of virtual health care is undoubtedly a viable potential solution for individuals in Canada, and is a key opportunity for employee benefits plan sponsors for 2019 and beyond. The market is being flooded with multiple potential solutions, which is making it harder for benefits plan sponsors to evaluate what is the best solution. We are excited at ZLC to recommend this solution to our clients as Babylon by TELUS Health virtual health care is very affordable with an impressive return on investment for employee benefit plan sponsors and their plan members.
ZLC Financial is one of the fastest growing advisors for employee benefits programs in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Visit our Employee Benefits Page to learn more about our benefits plans.
By Dan Eisner and John McGrath
This information is designed to educate and inform you of strategies and products currently available. As each individual’s circumstances differ, it is important to review the suitability of these concepts for your particular needs with a qualified advisor.