Corporate Canada – from its small players to its giants – is focused on better connecting workers with their health benefit plans. The shift is about making it easier for workers to access key information and expertise on the health issues they confront, whether that guidance is delivered online or over the phone.
While the move helps to tamp down on costs for plan sponsors, it also ensures employees are wringing every last drop of value from their workplace benefits.
Health Service Navigator offers Manulife’s benefit plan clients cost-containment help. At the same time, it is focused on providing plan members a portfolio of services: integrated health tips and tools, medical condition information, guides on how best to navigate the complex landscape of any and all provincial systems as well as live support from a health care team for everyday or very serious health concerns.
HRM spoke with Manulife Financial’s Chris MacDonald, AVP, Wellness, Absence and Disability Solutions, about Health Service Navigator solutions, developed in part by Novus Health.
HRM: How does offering health navigation help your clients?
According to a CBC News study, 41 per cent of Canadians polled said they turned to online sites for health information, and 67 per cent of the time they trust the information they find. But, a recent study looked into 500 websites and found only 39 per cent provided the correct information to a question about common childhood ailments, 11 per cent gave a wrong answer and 49 per cent were unable to provide any answer.
The health navigation platform provides key services, such as a health condition and drug library, a guide to navigating the Canadian healthcare system, a database of physician and healthcare providers as well as chronic condition information centres and a natural product library. It also provides users with access to provincial wait lists and provincial and territorial guides, plus a travel health library and various health articles.
HRM: What are the ways Health Navigation is helping Manulife’s employer clients
When concerned with health issues, employees may spend time at work searching for health information, or worrying about the unknown. This can translate to lost productivity for employers. By offering a trusted source of online health information and access to a telephonic health information specialist as part of an overall benefits program, employers can offer a centralized centre of support to their employees.
Having access to credible health information at their fingertips can help employees to better understand their health situation so they can ask their physician the right questions and help drive the proper treatment. This may result in shortened recovery time and lower risk of absenteeism or disability. Furthermore, this service can be used every day and for any health concern – whether it’s for the employee themselves, a family member, or a loved one.
HRM: How important is technology via multimodal channels (online desktop, tablet, smartphone, telephone support) in helping your clients’ members find the health information they need?
Today, as almost everyone has access to a computer, a smartphone or a tablet, portability is a necessity. Members expect easy access to trusted credible resources – wherever they are, whenever they need it, and how they prefer to access it – whether that be by phone or the web.
The health navigation meets our plan members’ needs with simple online access and expert telephone assistance from health information specialists, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.