Prior to COVID-19 growth in virtual healthcare, adoption was slow, but as the pandemic stretched GPs and the hospitals to breaking point, we saw an uptake in technology being used to access medical and support care. Workplace isolation and human disconnection also saw a rise in the need for access to mental health services.
The barriers that people faced prior to the pandemic – technology, experience, access and trust – are giving way to new confidence, as the realisation dawns that technologies and platforms can revolutionise what healthcare and whole-self care is, and how we access it, both in our personal lives and to support our new workplace models.
Deloitte confirmed the shift and recently reported their findings of a joint study that confirmed 70% of Australians are willing to use virtual healthcare services, and 80% are ready to share their health data in a digitally enabled health system.
Dr Patrick Aouad is the CEO and Co-founder of [cu]health, a virtual healthcare practice that provides dedicated, multidisciplinary healthcare for businesses, believes this is the brink of a revolution for digital healthcare, particularly in the workplace. “The tools and systems are now available to bring together exceptional healthcare experiences in the digital world. The best kind of healthcare is provided by expert teams that can work together and personalise care for each and every employee. Digital health has unlocked the potential to deliver this kind of care to organisations and their teams without employees/staff/team members, etc having to leave their desks.”
[cu]health is bringing evidence-based approaches, supported by appropriate innovation to support trusted, compassionate and excellent healthcare. The virtual healthcare platform integrates GP services with dietitians, psychologists, and health coaches that employees of subscribed businesses can access from the office or remotely.
As COVID-19 brought to the forefront the need for remote and digital healthcare solutions, and the change in the way we work – health, well-being and the safety of employees have become a critical concern for everyone.
Historically, employee assistance programs offered the bare minimum to employees, in some cases only offering access to a singular stream of wellbeing support, without continuity or a holistic approach. The pandemic has only highlighted that a fractured method to health and wellbeing is insufficient. Businesses and organisation leaders are more widely accepting responsibility for their employees’ physical and mental health to minimise risk, increase retention, and decrease short and long-term absenteeism.
Dr Aouad recently presented at The Workplace Wellness Festival in Sydney. The festival brought together forward-thinking organisations enacting the revolution of whole-person well-being for their employees working from home, on-site and in the field.
As an innovator in the space, Dr Aouad advocated for the benefits of [cu]health and other digital health technologies, including ROI when businesses invest in their employees' general health and wellbeing.
He’s adamant this is the way forward for the health landscape for businesses, to support the new ‘normal’ post-pandemic. “Whether you’re a remote worker, able to work from home, or in a corporate office, the ability to easily access high-quality health and wellbeing services is becoming essential in this busy world. A person’s physical and mental wellbeing is effectively their hardware and software for dealing with life’s challenges – digital health technologies combined with appropriate care pathways are now able to bridge the gap in care that employees need.”
While technological advances in the healthcare and wellbeing space for everyone were accelerated by the pandemic, in order to truly move forward and build on the gains made in virtual healthcare and revolutionise access, putting people first - including employees - is vital. Leaders, including medical professionals, need to adapt to the new digital behaviours and technologies and re-evaluate the merit of historic governance and methodologies whilst maintaining a strong evidence base and the highest standard of care.
About the author
Dr Patrick Aouad is the co-founder and CEO of [cu]health, a virtual medical practice for businesses. Patrick is focused on bringing evidence-based approaches supported by appropriate innovation to support trusted, compassionate and excellent healthcare.