28 September 2018 13:30
Photo : Freepik
Desjardins Insurance is currently working on a pilot project to include teleconsultation medical insurance collective, has unveiled the insurer at a conference presented as part of Forum 360°. No official release date is not confirmed for the moment.
“Our solution is almost ready to be marketed. To be transparent, we are in the phase of pilot project with one of our clients, and with 4 000 of their employees. We work already to integrate this new service to our current offer for groups and companies, ” said François Joseph Poirier, vice-president, business development at Desjardins security financial.
The tele-consultation would enable patients to have a remote consultation in real time with a health care professional, either by written communication or video communication, in order to make a diagnosis. According to Desjardins, this type of consultation would lead to many benefits for both the employees and the managers.
“It’s still a human relationship between a health professional and a patient. It is only how to interact which changes using the technology, ” said Maude-Marie Dorval consulting actuary for group insurance for Desjardins group.
Time-saving for the patient and the employer
According to data shared at the conference, seven out of ten Canadians avoid to consult when they are sick because of the long wait times. According to the most recent winners of the emergency department, the mean waiting time in the er in Quebec is four hours, while the average stay in the er is 13 hours and 42 minutes.
“The care of minors do not require an in-person consultation. It is estimated that 50 % of visits to the clinic and 70 % of er visits could be done in a virtual way. With the teleconsultation, we are talking about an economy the wait time of 30 to 50 % to see a specialist, ” says Ms. Dorval.
According to Desjardins, the employers would also be winners by adding the teleconsultation program of group insurance as this will decrease the absenteeism rate of their employees.
“The employees are absent from work to consult. With the teleconsultation we are talking about a gain of 3.3 h for a visit which would take place in the clinic and 8 a.m. for a visit to the emergency, ” says the actuary.
The market is not quite ready
However, Ms. Dorval believes that doctors are not necessarily willing to accommodate teleconsultation, due to the regulatory standards of today. The virtual consultations are not being paid to the public, so by the Regie de l’assurance maladie du Québec. Only in the province of British Columbia that currently covers this type of consultation to the public. Thus, in the other provinces, the tele-consultation is often done via the private sector.
Ms. Dorval remains confident. “It is estimated that 25 % of the number of physicians who use telehealth technologies. Only 8 % practice teleconsultation with patients. However, thecanadian medical Association says that 69 % of Canadians say they be willing to use such a service. Are we ready ? Almost. “
For the creation of these new products in telemedicine, Desjardins has been working in partnership with the Medisys Health Group, recently acquired by TELUS Health. “This is the best of both worlds, because we have the medical experience of Medisys and the experience with technology from Telus,” says Mr. Poirier.