Dialogue has partnered with Sun Life Financial to offer virtual healthcare services to the Canadian insurance provider’s company benefits customers.
Sun Life is rolling out access to virtual care for its Group Benefits Clients with an Extended Health Care (EHC) benefit. Through the partnership with Montreal-based Dialogue, users will be able to access the virtual clinic to connect directly with a health care professional. Sun Life is making the service available for free for what it called an initial period during the current global health crises caused by COVID-19.
“Offering free virtual health care services to our clients will hopefully relieve some of their stress.”
Sun Life is including the service into its already existing EHC Benefit, meaning employers, employees and their families, with the benefit will be able to access the free virtual healthcare service, which the insurer is calling Lumino Health Virtual Care. Lumino Health Virtual Care brings combines Sun Life’s own digital platform Lumino Health and Dialogue. The virtual care service will be powered by Dialogue.
Founded in 2016, Dialogue is a telemedicine provider offering virtual healthcare benefits specifically tailored to large organizations. Earlier this month, the startup entered into a similar partnership with Canada Life, making virtual healthcare a standard benefit for employers with Canada Life group benefits plans.
“Given the COVID-19 outbreak, access to health care has never been more critical. Dialogue is proud to continue playing a pivotal role, helping Canadians stay healthy and happy,” said Cherif Habib, CEO of Dialogue. “Partnering with Sun Life will help millions of Canadians quickly access health care through our secure platform from the comfort of their home. This is needed now more than ever.”
In response to COVID-19, Sun Life also recently partnered with OnCall Health, a virtual care startup, to enable paramedical providers on the Lumino Health platform to connect virtually with patients.
“Today, more than ever, our clients need us,” said Jacques Goulet, president of Sun Life Canada. “Our country is in the middle of a health crisis. Offering free virtual health care services to our clients will hopefully relieve some of their stress, support social distancing efforts across the country, and alleviate some of the load on Canada’s emergency health care system.”
While COVID-19 has essentially halted the economy, with detrimental effects for the majority of businesses in Canada, there have been positive strides in healthtech. Whereas the procurement process in healthtech has been a significant hindrance for the sector, the need urgent need for care and self-isolation have led to a number of government entities and organizations pushing forward virtual solutions. Telus Health has partnered with Alberta to offer its Babylon app, which includes access to virtual doctors, and Regina-based startup Lumeca is working with the Saskatchewan government, making virtual services available for all residents with a valid Saskatchewan Health Card.
Dialogue has also taken steps individually to support COVID-19 efforts. In early March, the startup launched a free tool to give Canadian access to the latest public health information and resources pertaining to the virus.
The partnership with Sun Life comes shortly after Dialogue acquired Argumed Consulting Group, a German-based Occupational Health and Safety services company, a move that saw an evolution of Dialogue’s product, moving the company into Occupational Health and Safety benefits. In December, Dialogue partnered with Doctor On Demand to give enterprise clients the ability to offer virtual healthcare to employees visiting the United States. Dialogue closed a $40 million funding round in mid-2019 in order to fuel Europe expansion, later launching a virtual mental healthcare program.