Technology at the Aid of the Physical and Mental Health of Employees

Cassandra Sawodny

For more than two years, Dialogue has been providing telemedicine services to Canadian employers who are actively involved in improving the well-being of their employees and families. Naturally, Dialogue turned to distribution partners who also support this mission.

To celebrate these successful collaborations, Dialogue invited its partners to its Montreal offices on September 27. Several insurers, consultants and group insurance brokers gathered around a roundtable discussion on technology for physical and mental well-being in companies.

A panel of experts

As Dialogue’s Channel Marketing Specialist, I had the opportunity to lead a panel discussion comprised of 3 experts in their respective fields.

Let’s start with Étienne Crevier. A geneticist by training, he has been CEO of BiogeniQ since 2013, a company that offers DNA tests and genetic counselling that help predict responses to certain drugs or suggest a diet that can prevent the development of chronic diseases.

I was also accompanied by Véronique Hébert. As the Director of Human Resources at Framestore, she is passionate about integrating human resources into new business areas under development in an increasingly changing environment over the past 10 years.

Finally, our third panelist is Crystal Holly, an avant-garde psychologist. A clinical professor at the University of Ottawa, Crystal is a member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario and the Ordre des psychologues du Québec. In addition to individual psychology and corporate wellness groups, Dr. Holly also offers remote psychotherapy sessions.

Health impacts on the workplace

It is now common knowledge: physical and mental well-being has a positive impact on companies. Half of the plan administrators participating in the last Sanofi study plan to invest in wellness programs by next year, up 31% from last year. We, therefore, discussed the wellness initiatives implemented in companies.

Their positive impacts are felt, not only on the well-being of employees and their families but also on the employer brand and corporate culture. Véronique noted a change in mentality among employers who offer wellness programs that are much more proactive than reactive. Proactivity is also brought up by Crystal. More patients are consulting her to take care of their minds before things escalate. One of his favorite patients made the following analogy during their first consultation:

“We regularly take our car to the garage for oil changes and adjustments. Why don’t we do the same for ourselves?”

Expected 2019 trends

Technology has an increasingly important place in our lives as consumers, but also as entrepreneurs, professionals and managers.

We discussed with Crystal how she adopted new technologies in her practice. She mentioned that remote therapy makes psychology more accessible and flexible, allowing it to reach patients in remote areas or offer extended hours to patients who would not otherwise have been able to consult her.

For Véronique, technology saves time and energy. Telemedicine and its navigation of the healthcare system component are reassuring for newcomers, who make up nearly 50% of the employees at Framestore and several creative companies.

“In the past, our employees were frustrated when they had to find a doctor. They did not know who to contact, who to refer to and wasted hours making calls, consulting websites and waiting endlessly in hospitals and walk-in clinics. All this made the expatriate experience very negative. For those with several children, there is no need to take them all to the doctor or to have one child babysat so that they can go with the other to the clinic. Dialogue makes family life much easier for our employees.”

Disability management

We know that mental health costs Canadian companies more than $6 billion. This is the predominant reason for short- and long-term disabilities.

With this in mind, we have of course taken the opportunity to discuss psychological care, return-to-work plans, but also wellness in a broader way that limits and better controls daily stressors, which can lead to disabilities.

Pharmacogenetics

Etienne is often asked if the miracle pill has been invented. According to him, the recipe is well known: eat well, move well and sleep well, but the reality is that not everyone is born equal. The notion of personalization of pharmacogenetics thus takes on its full meaning. With the technology available today, he believes that the man or woman who will live to 200 years old is already born.

Without being convinced yet that I want to live that long, I wish you all the health and longevity you desire!

Consulting partners

The discussion at this event highlighted the importance of the advisor in the adoption of new technologies and best practices. Dialogue values its partners and would like to thank all the participants of the event, but also those who regularly support us in our mission to make technology accessible to all Canadian employers.

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