Manulife offers e-health programs to employees

Manulife Financial Thursday said it will offer e-health options for employees through provider Wilson Banwell-Human Solutions.

Manulife is linking up its

intranet to Wilson Banwell’s secure site, which will provide a health library, drug dictionary and a health questionnaire designed to guide employees through personalized health programs.

Wilson Banwell duplicated the Manulife intranet’s look and feel to such a degree that “”unless they looked on the address bar, they wouldn’t know they’ve left the Manulife site,”” said Tim Taylor, product manager for the Waterloo, Ont.-based insurance provider. “”When our tester first tested it, he thought the link wasn’t working because he didn’t think he’d left the Manulife site.””

It’s a holistic approach to health care, said Craig Thompson, vice-president of business development for Vancouver-based Wilson Banwell.

“”I don’t want to sound trite, but you can’t separate mental health from physical health; you can’t separate home from work,”” he said. “”These services are designed to help people manage their own lives more effectively, which in turn will hopefully create a more productive and healthy employee.””

In addition to reference material and questionnaires, Wilson Banwell will also provide e-learning courses like ‘Coping with change’ and ‘Building resilience in the workforce,’ which are designed for both employees and managers. “”These e-courses are designed to be taken on an individual basis and are built on an educational foundation that tests one’s comprehension and learning through the process,”” said Thompson.

The integration work began in September and the site was in test mode by December. In February, Manulife’s corporate customers with group policies will be able to offer the services to their own employees.

“”We know that the search for health information on the Internet is a common request for people and now what we’re doing is giving our members and employees of our customers access to reliable, credible and Canadian health information through our site in a one-stop shopping environment,”” said Taylor.

Manulife’s small business customers will also have access to HR components, which will provide a library of HR tools and forms.

The link between Manulife’s intranet and Wilson Banwell’s site is virtually flawless, said Taylor, but Manulife is considering a greater level of integration between the two through a Web services model.

“”That is pretty leading edge. There are only a few insurance companies doing that because it requires some development, both on the insurance company’s side and on the HR side, but there is definitely a trend to try to integrate the two,”” said Taylor.

Wilson Banwell will offer reporting based on Manulife’s use of its services, but on a strictly anonymous basis. “”That’s understood up front,”” said Thompson. “”We can indicate there’s been 10 users, but we can’t indicate there’s been 10 users, five of which are in Toronto with last name Smith, first name Bob.””

Wilson Banwell also offers counseling services, which can be arranged online, over the phone or in person.


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