Empire Life inks healthcare navigation partnership

by Leo Almazora09 Dec 2021

Members of Empire Life group plans may be soon benefit from faster recoveries from disabilities courtesy of a newly announced strategic relationship.

Empire Life has entered into an agreement with CloudMD’s healthcare navigation provider, Medical Confidence, which provides group benefits plan members on disability leave with a personalized healthcare navigation service. The upshot for users of the service is that they’ll be able to get specialist care sooner, which can potentially speed up their recovery and return to the workplace.

"Delayed access to appropriate treatment can be devastating—leaving people in pain or discomfort, causing increased stress and anxiety, and prolonging time off work," says Vanessa Lycos, vice-president of Group Product and Marketing at Empire Life. "No wonder 55% of Canadian primary care physicians chose reducing wait times for specialists and elective surgery as the top priority when it comes to improving quality of care, in 2019— COVID-19 hasn't improved the situation.”

According to a pre-pandemic study conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Canada has longer wait times for specialists and non-emergency surgeries than many other developed countries including Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Based on CIHI data, 56% of Canadians waited four weeks or longer to see a specialist, compared to the average of 36% for other countries. In a more recent CIHI survey conducted from March to May 2021, 28% of Canadians needing health care services said they had one or more appointments that were cancelled, rescheduled, or delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The healthcare navigation service provided by Medical Confidence taps a national network of over 27,000 specialists. On average, people who have used the service have been able to access a specialist 220 days sooner, and disability insurers who have used the program saw a six-month the duration of disability cases go down by an average of six months, and clients that had the service reported a 75% improvement in employee satisfaction.

Medical Confidence is delivered in partnership with the plan member’s primary care practitioner, and it works in alignment with the Canada Health Act. Based on referral criteria and in appropriate circumstances, plan members on disability leave will have Empire Life disability case managers to guide them.

"We are delighted to be teaming up with Empire Life. Through our innovative navigation platform, we will provide Empire Life plan members a customized and caring approach to obtaining the right treatment at the right time. The result is reduced wait times and improved outcomes for patients and their physicians," said Angela Johnson, president of Medical Confidence.