Posted by Yann Desille on September 1, 2021
Yann Desille

More than ever, healthcare is a top priority for employers; business leaders understand that telemedicine benefits for employees should bring long-term value to their organization by helping their workforce stay healthy, engaged, and productive. In reality, though, many organizations struggle to measure the impact of their telemedicine services, or worse, see no improvement at all.

Dialogue’s virtual care program has proven to be highly effective, with tangible results including shorter leaves of absence compared to national averages and significant improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety. Here are three pillars through which Dialogue achieves better health outcomes for its members.


The largest dedicated multidisciplinary medical team in Canada

Dialogue’s healthcare team consists of over 500 medical professionals across a wide range of clinical and non-clinical specialties. It includes care coordinators, case managers, nurses, nurse practitioners, family physicians, mental health specialists, psychologists, psychotherapists, dietitians, and nutritionists.

Patients can find the right professional for their needs through a single entry point with our Integrated Health Platform™. No matter which practitioner they see, patients can expect consistent, high-quality care that puts their safety first. All of our practitioners follow standardized clinical practices defined by our medical board in accordance with Canadian Medical Association guidelines. 

Our medical board conducts regular audits to ensure that these best practices are followed, which is key to achieving positive patient outcomes. Because not every condition can be safely treated virtually, we adhere to strict protocols regarding scope of practice, only treating conditions that do not require an in-person appointment. The board also makes recommendations on matters that affect quality of care and helps ensure ethical conduct on the part of all our practitioners.

One of the most important ways our team helps achieve positive clinical outcomes is by making it easier for patients to access the care they need when they need it, and nowhere is this more apparent than in treating patients with mental health issues. The average wait time for mental health services in Canada is over two months; such long wait times tend to exacerbate symptoms and lead to longer recovery times. Dialogue removes this barrier to care by giving patients quick and convenient access to the right professional for their needs, whether that’s a psychologist, psychotherapist, or mental health specialist. For members who are not comfortable speaking to someone, Dialogue also offers self-led therapy through its iCBT service

A study of 51 patients undergoing treatment in Dialogue’s mental health program found they took shorter leaves of absence compared to national averages—and this despite the fact that Dialogue does not set limits on the duration of leaves of absence. The Canadian Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report lists the following statistics:

  • 33% of Canadians take a leave of absence shorter than six weeks
  • 67% take a leave longer than six weeks
  • 50% take a leave longer than three months 

Compare this with the results of Dialogue’s study:

  • 70% of patients took a leave of absence shorter than six weeks
  • 30% took a leave longer than six weeks
  • 23% took a leave longer than three months

These findings suggest that a multidisciplinary virtual care approach to mental health treatment is highly effective. 


An unmatched patient experience

Dialogue’s program was designed to provide an optimal experience to patients, starting from the moment a member logs on to the platform to request an appointment. Our administrative process is five times faster than that of the traditional healthcare system, allowing members to connect with our care team in minutes and to speak with a medical professional around the clock, 365 days a year via a phone or video call supported by an in-app chat feature. Given that 46% of Canadians report having difficulty accessing healthcare, with average wait times of four or more days for minor health issues, having access to timely care and flexible scheduling is a major advantage.

Once a patient has begun treatment, we facilitate continuity of care by offering personalized follow-ups with the same health professionals as much as possible. This is unique to Dialogue, and is one of the benefits of having our own in-house medical team; patients receive ongoing support from professionals they know and trust, and practitioners monitor their patients’ progress and ensure they’re on the path to recovery.

What’s more, patients can expect to receive assistance from Dialogue’s healthcare team regardless of the complexity of their case; as long as their condition can be treated virtually, we will never decline their case. If a patient’s condition requires an in-person visit with a doctor or specialist, we provide concierge-level support to help them navigate their local healthcare system and find the right professional or clinic for their needs. For instance, a patient who needs to see a dermatologist will be provided with a referral in their in-app care plan.

For patients in treatment for mental health issues, our virtual care program can facilitate recovery by allowing them book appointments at their convenience via a self-booking feature, by eliminating the hassle of commuting to a therapist’s office, and by providing access to a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Over the course of the study of 51 patients enrolled in Dialogue’s mental health program, patients responded several times to two standard assessments for diagnosing generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder: the General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Based on the data from these questionnaires, patients experienced significant improvements in anxiety and depression symptoms, going from moderate to moderately severe symptoms to mild symptoms. On average, Dialogue’s mental health patients experience an improvement to their PHQ-9 score of between 36 and 50% within two to 12 weeks.

All of this translates to high levels of patient satisfaction, with Dialogue members being two times more likely to be very satisfied than users of other virtual care providers.


High member engagement and ROI

Of course, achieving better health outcomes is only possible if employees actually use their benefits. To make it as easy as possible for Dialogue members to access our services, we’ve centralized our three programs—Primary Care, Stress and Mental Health, and Employee Assistance—on our Integrated Health Platform. We continuously fine-tune the platform to deliver an optimal patient experience.

We also encourage members to take full advantage of their program by providing personalized onboarding for new users and running tailored engagement campaigns to build awareness of our services. For organizations that sign up with Dialogue, we monitor registration and utilization rates and adapt our engagement initiatives to increase those rates as needed. Further, we share this reporting with our clients so that they can get a clear picture of their organization’s usage rates and overall wellness (note: due to member privacy and confidentiality, smaller organizations may receive limited reporting). 

Our efforts have paid off: Dialogue has the highest rate of member engagement among all virtual care providers in Canada. Among our top 50 clients, the numbers are impressive:

  • An average sign-up rate of 140%
  • An average activation rate of 92%
  • An average 30-day utilization rate of 32% 

Just as notably, 77% of employees are more likely to seek out medical care when they have access to Dialogue.

Dialogue’s return on investment also speaks volumes about the positive health outcomes achieved through our programs. According to a study of 8,000 employees signed up with Dialogue, their organizations cumulatively saved an estimated $900,000 in prevented disability claims, $120,000 in potential psychotherapy claims, and $1.98 million by decreasing presenteeism. By investing approximately $5 per employee per month, organizations can save $31 per employee per month—a return on investment of five to one. 

The virtual care market has grown exponentially in recent years, and organizations are now faced with an overwhelming number of options when it comes to selecting a provider. However, it’s important to remember that not all telemedicine services are created equal; choosing a provider that prioritizes positive patient outcomes is one of the best things you can do for your employees and your organization.

Topics: For Organizations