Sun Life piloting virtual mental-health coach

Sun Life Canada is launching a new virtual mental-health coach for plan members that taps into the power of predictive analytics.

The virtual coach will launch in the first quarter of 2021, starting with a small number of clients, and after six months, the insurer will slowly bring more organizations on board. The insurer’s goal with the pilot program is to find a way to use a predictive personalized approach to support plan members, says Marie-Chantal Côté, the company’s vice-president of market development and group benefits.

Read: Harnessing analytics, data to support employee mental health

By using predictive data, Sun Life aims to help plan sponsors identify members who are at risk of developing or facing mental-health challenges early, she notes. Some of the data will be pulled from insights gained from plan members’ interactions with the insurer’s existing digital coach, says Côté, along with data it receives through other resources, such as the employee assistance program, mental-health navigator, pharmacogenetics, virtual-care solutions and internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy.

Plan members will be able to access the service through a variety of channels — on a secure website, through a mobile app or even through verbal interaction. They’ll then be guided through their own individual mental-health care journey.