Majority of Canadians have taken time off work for medical appointments: survey

Three-quarters of Canadian employees have taken time off work for a medical appointment, according to a survey by virtual health-care company Wello.

The survey, which polled 1,500 Canadian workers, found 39 per cent of respondents have taken a total of two to six or more days off for medical appointments, while 46 per cent have taken the same amount of time to take their kids to the doctor’s office.

“You’ve got almost half of employees taking at least two days away from work to see their doctor,” says Vince Danielsen, chief executive officer of Wello. “When you look at the family side, you’ve got 35 per cent of people that have families taking at least two days off work. That’s not good for companies because of the productivity, to have people away from work. 

Read: A look at video health-care visits as an option for plan sponsors

“Obviously, there’s a lot of stress on families because they’re juggling both parents at work and they’ve got the kids in school, so there’s a lot of stress that’s happening there that’s not good for your health.”

The survey also found Canadians support virtual health-care, although the vast majority of respondents haven’t used the technology. Indeed, 84 per cent of respondents said they haven’t had a web chat and 87 per cent said they haven’t had a video call with a health-care provider.

Among those who support the use of virtual health-care, 87 per cent said they would either definitely or probably use it to obtain a prescription or refill, followed by to obtain a referral to a specialist (86 per cent),  for questions while travelling (85 per cent) and for after-hours appointments (85 per cent).

“It’s good to see the want is there, and that 66 per cent say that they wish their employers would have this,” says Danielsen.

The survey also found 89 per cent of respondents said employees who feel healthy are more productive, 53 per cent said they feel their own stress levels have negatively affected their productivity at work, 65 per cent said they’d be more productive at work if they felt healthier and 90 per cent said stress causes sickness.

Read: Majority of Canadians would take advantage of virtual doctor visits: survey

As well, 74 per cent of respondents believe better health benefits are as important or more important than an increased salary.

“When you start to look at those things, you’re starting to see employees really searching for innovation in their benefits,” says Danielsen. “They’re searching for much more personalization and customization.”