As temperatures turn colder and employees start to come down with seasonal illnesses, virtual healthcare providers such as Wello are hoping to facilitate connections between companies, their team members and an army of registered nurses to help them.
Although it formally launched back in September, Wello is owned by INLIV, a provider of more traditional healthcare services based in Calgary, that has been in operation for more than 40 years. Wello, however, allows enterprise firms to offer virtual healthcare as part of their benefits plans, where employees to consult with nurses and get advice via phone or video consultation.
As part of the launch, Wello released a survey conducted by its PR agency, H+K Strategies, of more than 1,500 workers that showed that three out of four employees have taken time off work for an in-person visit to a clinic.
Much like the transportation, banking and retail sectors, Wello is based on the idea that business professionals, particularly younger “digital natives” will want on-demand access to health care advice that can also be personalized and customized to their needs. From a company standpoint, meanwhile, virtual healthcare helps address the costs associated with supporting an aging workforce. Then there’s the rise of remote work and virtual teams where services like Wello can get them in front of a nurse near-instantly.
“When you’re going to a normal medical appointment, you’re in the car driving and then waiting with other sick people,” Vince Danielsen, Wello’s CEO, told B2B News Network. “In other cases, you’re not feeling well, it’s three in the morning and the only place you can go is the emergency room.”
With other virtual healthcare providers — including Medeo, Akos and others — already active in the U.S. and the U.K., Danielsen said Wello will initially remain focused on the Canadian market. That’s partly because building a B2B brand in this case is not just limited to engaging HR and other departments within corporate customers but the employees who would actually use such services.
“You can’t just go in and send a link out,” he said. “When we’re sitting with the stakeholders and our onboarding team, we will work on the marcom plan together.”
Those plans are often tailored to what a particular firm’s employees might be facing, whether it’s cardiac issues, diabetes or even regular coughs and colds, he adds. Already, Wello is enjoying excellent registration rates, according to Daneilsen: 50 per cent of his customers’ employee population create an account, on average, and utilization of those accounts averages 47 per cent. Part of that uptake is also based on making the signup process as simple as possible, he added, with a reg form that allows them to enter their basic health information and get to a video or live chat right away.
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