Lumino Health Virtual Care

powered by Dialogue

Digital health care delivery to support the health of Canadians

Lumino Health Virtual Care

powered by Dialogue

Digital health care delivery to support the health of Canadians

The health care landscape in Canada is facing many challenges

Access to health care remains difficult for many Canadians. Rural and remote areas often do not have primary care physicians to serve their populations. All too often, even those in urban areas find it difficult to access care outside of regular business hours. This can cause them to delay care, miss work or family obligations. Many Canadians turn to emergency departments, taking up critical resources that could be put to better use.

The population is aging, the pandemic lingers and health care systems in all provinces are under financial strain.

Four in 10 Canadians said that it took them 6 or more days to get an appointment the last time they needed medical attention.1

One out of every six Canadians does not have a primary health care provider. This rises to one in five for Quebec and B.C. residents.2

40% of Canadians who visited an emergency department said their condition could have been treated elsewhere. Timely access to care was why they sought out emergency services.1

Virtual care is key to helping meet these challenges - providing accessible, efficient, quality health care to Canadians

It can be used to treat about 70% of all health issues seen by a general practitioner. It’s also revolutionizing the delivery of mental health treatments – with online therapy proven to be highly effective.

Employer-sponsored virtual care services have established themselves as integral parts of this new care landscape:

  • They’ve led the development of innovative digital interfaces.
  • They provide secure, private infrastructure and networks of health professionals to serve patients.
  • They’re designed to complement care provided by family doctors, not replace it.
  • They enable much needed 24/7 on-demand access to services.

Our virtual care solution – Lumino Health Virtual Care, powered by Dialogue – is unique in its depth and quality of care:

  • It’s available to hundreds of thousands of Canadians through employer benefits plans.
  • The positive effects on employee health and productivity for employers are significant.
  • Employees can access high-quality care for themselves and their families quickly, whenever they need it. This means they don’t have to miss work.
  • As an employer-paid benefit, there is no cost to the public system.

Our role in continuing to provide access to care to Canadian employees through their benefits plan is critical. But, we also believe we can play a broader role in directly supporting public health care. Partnering with governments to support the health needs of remote and underserved communities is an opportunity where we believe we can make a significant impact.

Lumino Health Virtual Care is unique among virtual care services

In 2020, Sun Life launched Lumino Health Virtual Care to our Clients and their employees as part of their group benefits package.

It’s there for employees to use as needed. The service is 100% employer-paid. There are no out-of-pocket costs to employees or costs to the public health care system. It’s just like other health services covered through employer benefit plans like prescription drugs, dental care and physiotherapy.

We offer it in partnership with Dialogue – one of Canada’s largest and fastest growing telemedicine companies. Dialogue has hundreds of bilingual, multidisciplinary practitioners consulting on physical and mental health conditions. The service is available 24/7 from anywhere in the country.

Primary care and so much more

Lumino Health Virtual Care is unique among virtual care services in providing comprehensive care from initial assessment to issue resolution. Here’s what makes our care model stand out:

  • AI triaging. Triaging powered by artificial intelligence (AI) ensures individuals see the right care professional for their needs, quickly.
  • Continuity of care. Every virtual care appointment includes a follow-up to ensure the patient’s health issue has a satisfactory resolution.
  • Navigation. The Care Team can help individuals find and book an appointment with a specialist if they need to see one.
  • Multidisciplinary providers. The range of providers includes case managers, nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, and mental health professionals.
  • Mental health care. Individuals get an assessment and consultation with a mental health specialist, immediately and at no cost. Employers can choose to add the option of additional mental health supports. This includes unlimited support until remission from a team of multidisciplinary mental health professionals.

A family doctor complement, not a replacement

Lumino Health Virtual Care does not replace the key role played by a family doctor. Ideally, that one-to-one relationship should be the foundation of primary health care in Canada. In fact, the service encourages maintaining the relationship between an individual and their primary care provider in several ways:

  • Referrals for optimum treatment. After a thorough assessment, the individual will be referred back to their primary care provider if their condition is best treated in person.
  • Referrals for long-term prescription needs. The service is available to refill an urgent short-term prescription for chronic conditions. However, it encourages the individual to engage with their primary care provider for longer-term refill needs.
  • A partnership approach. When necessary, the case manager makes contact with the primary care provider to discuss notes and treatment plans. A patient can request to have their medical record forwarded to their primary care provider free of charge.

How Lumino Health Virtual Care is helping to address the mental health care crisis

In 2018, 43% of Canadians who needed help for their mental health, about 2.3 million people, didn’t get care.3

Last year, only half of Canadians who wanted help for pandemic-related mental health concerns got the help they needed.4

Canadians face many barriers to accessing mental health care. These include cost, stigma, lack of access in rural areas, not knowing what resources are available or how to access them. Lumino Health Virtual Care offers a new avenue for providing mental health care – one that helps eliminate these barriers.

Employees calling about a mental health issue get an assessment and consultation with a mental health specialist, immediately and at no cost. Depending on their needs, the employee is referred to appropriate resources, including additional counselling with a mental health professional. These are services covered by many workplace benefits plans.

Employers also have the option of providing a complete mental health care package to their employees. This includes a dedicated case manager. Case managers are mental health professionals that assess the employee and create a customized treatment plan for them. This can involve both drug and talk therapy. Lumino Health Virtual Care provides unlimited access to mental health professionals for therapy sessions as needed until remission. These specialized treatment plans include regular follow-ups to track progress.

A partner for innovative health care solutions

Lumino Health Virtual Care offers leading health care technology, processes and infrastructure – delivered through the highest standards of security and privacy. As an employer-paid benefit, it’s helped meet the health care needs of thousands of employees and their families. It complements the care provided by our public health care system. In this way, it can create additional capacity for the public system to focus resources on critical issues and Canadians most in need.

Virtual care solutions are key to addressing the challenges many Canadians face to accessing care. Governments must continue to play an important role in developing virtual care. This includes actions that make it easier to access. Steps such as harmonizing provincial licensing regulations for health professionals and improving broadband internet access are priorities. Given the many benefits, it’s critical for provincial governments to continue to enable employers to complement public health care services through their group insurance plans.

And we believe this service can do much more. By partnering with the public system we can help increase much needed access to high-quality primary care. One area with great potential for partnership is addressing the needs of Canadians in rural, remote and underserved communities. Working together, we can quickly implement this service to provide access to high-quality health care, to targeted groups in need.

The aging population and the pandemic’s aftermath will continue to stretch Canadian health care resources. Lumino Health Virtual Care can play an important role in meeting the challenges faced by our health care system. We look forward to speaking with employers, governments and health agencies about partnering to expand high-quality, cost-effective care to greater numbers of Canadians..

One area with great potential for partnership is addressing the needs of Canadians in rural, remote and underserved communities.

Lumino Health Virtual Care in action

Reshmi is on a weekend camping trip with her family outside of the city. On Saturday afternoon while swimming and playing on the beach, she notices a red, itchy bump on her upper arm. The bump doesn’t improve throughout the day, and by Sunday morning she’s worried it could be a tick bite. She wants to reach out to her family doctor, but their office isn’t open on the weekend. She remembers reading about how serious tick bites can be, and how treating them quickly is important. She searches for the nearest ER, but it’s an hour away. Reshmi opens the Lumino Health Virtual Care app on her phone. She answers a few questions about the bump on her arm. She takes a picture of the bump and uploads it using the app. She completes her profile information (her pharmacy, the name of her GP…). She chooses from three different appointment times offered to her. She meets with the practitioner at her preferred time via video conference. The practitioner determines it’s not a tick bite. Reshmi gets a prescription for the bite. The practitioner tells her to take antihistamines if the itching gets uncomfortable. She goes back to enjoying the rest of her camping weekend with her family. Two days later, the Dialogue care team checks on her. Reshmi lets them know the medication worked and there’s no longer any redness.

1 How Canada Compares Results From the Commonwealth Fund’s 2020 International Health Policy Survey of the General Population in 11 Countries February 2021

2 Statistics Canada, Health Fact Sheets, Primary health care providers, 2019

3 Statistics Canada. Mental health care needs, 2018

4 How Canada Compares Results From the Commonwealth Fund’s 2020 International Health Policy Survey of the General Population in 11 Countries, 2021