The pandemic has been a catalyst for change, and this is likely most evident in the rapid and exponential growth in demand for virtual care. When the pandemic first hit, Laura Mensch, Vice President of Health Benefits Management for TELUS Health was most concerned with providing adequate support to TELUS Health team members and its clients. With the support and guidance of a dedicated team of national medical experts, TELUS Health has brought essential virtual and digital healthcare capabilities to the industry, which was catapulted to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The social purpose of TELUS Health is to leverage the power of its world-leading technology to enable remarkable human outcomes. By prioritizing investments in socially responsible innovation and technology for the last two decades, TELUS has transformed from a Canadian telco into a global technology leader and catalyst for economic growth and social good. TELUS Health is putting patients at the centre of care and delivering improved healthcare experiences so Canadians may live happier, healthier lives.
Delivering Innovative Solutions
Laura joined TELUS Health in 2018 to lead the company’s Health Benefits Management (HBM) business. Under her leadership, the HBM portfolio has grown to include both well-established and novel, innovative solutions that are transforming the health benefits landscape across the country. In the first two years of Laura’s tenure, she focused on the evolution of market dynamics within the benefits industry and their impact on insurance providers, advisors and the Canadian employers offering health benefits to their people. With the industry rapidly changing, she made sure that TELUS Health would continue delivering solutions that supported its clients and helped guide them into the future of health benefits. In 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, that foundational work proved invaluable as it helped its clients and industry stakeholders navigate through new challenges and demands. TELUS Health continues to provide innovative thinking and technology to support the benefits to community in a post-pandemic world.
Making Healthcare More Accessible
As a business, TELUS Health found itself quickly pivoting to ensure that virtual care options were made available to its clients. TELUS Health helped clients gain access to Akira by TELUS Health, a national on-demand virtual care service that makes healthcare more accessible for employees and their families. Available via a smartphone or computer in both French and English, it provides 24/7 direct access to medical consultations through secure text or video chat, helping to address common primary care concerns as well as provide access to allied healthcare services such as mental health support. It also contributes to keeping Canadian workers healthy and well, lowering health benefits costs and reducing absenteeism.
Above and beyond solutions for employees, TELUS Health also pivoted to expand access and use of its other virtual care offerings. In a matter of weeks, it developed virtual care functionality seamlessly integrated into physician electronic medical records, enabling them to conduct secure virtual visits with their own roster of patients. It also worked to make one-on-one virtual consultations with a locally licensed physician available for residents covered under provincial health plans in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, particularly those without access to a family physician or in need of after-hours support. Finally, it adapted its TELUS Home Health Monitoring (HHM) solution to help clinicians remotely monitor British Columbia residents diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19, in addition to supporting chronic disease management. In other jurisdictions, the solution is also being used to support patients recovering from organ transplant at home.
Bringing Connectivity to Healthcare Ecosystem
TELUS has invested more than $3.2B over the last decade to help transform Canada’s healthcare system because it believes that a friendly future is one where all Canadians, regardless of their socio-economic status or location, have the best healthcare support and information wherever and whenever they need it. TELUS connects millions of Canadians everyday through its network infrastructure. Harnessing the power of its technology, it has brought this connectivity to the healthcare ecosystem to help digitize healthcare, facilitate the seamless flow of information across care teams, enable more streamlined workflows and enhanced collaboration, and improve health outcomes and experiences for all Canadians.
Forward Thinking Solutions
TELUS Health is supporting collaboration and information sharing through the TELUS Health Exchange (THX), a national, standards-based, electronic communication platform designed to facilitate efficient communication across the care continuum. THX opens the doors to data-driven, forward-thinking solutions that can ultimately benefit the health and wellness of Canadians today and in the future. In addition, electronic prescription services and digitized prior authorization processes are helping to streamline workflows for clinicians, empower them with data to immediately address issues before they worsen and enhance the overall patient experience. Similarly, personal health records provide patients access to their own medical information, allowing them to play a more active role in their care. All this while keeping personal health information safe.
Streamlined Flow of Information
TELUS Health is committed to continuing its work alongside public health partners to provide digital health solutions that complement existing health services and enhance access to care. For TELUS Health as a whole, its goal has always been to leverage the power of technology to improve health experiences for all Canadians. It is making significant steps to enhance its offerings in virtual care, mental health, employee health and solutions that continue to enable the efficient and streamlined flow of information across the entire healthcare ecosystem. This will continue over the next five years and for many more to come.
Within Laura’s portfolio of Health Benefits Management, she will continue to deliver well-defined centres of excellence to continue to scale its growth across the country. Collaborating with its clients in the insurance industry will provide more targeted and innovative solutions for Canadians to stay healthy, happy, and productive in the workforce. Rich insights and data enablement will also continue to evolve its solutions and allow TELUS Health to adapt to the changing needs of working Canadians.
Beyond its core digital health solutions, TELUS Health is also expanding its reach to enhance its capabilities. TELUS recently announced the filing of a registration statement for a proposed Initial Public Offering (IPO) of TELUS International. The public offering for the subsidiary will boost its digital and artificial intelligence business. The next five years will see TELUS growing in the international market as a successful digital disruptor in games, communications, media, e-commerce, fintech, healthcare and hospitality.