iHealthOX smartphone app will help address Canada’s need for more mental health services.
In order to address an increased need for mental health services amid the pandemic, a new employee benefits system and app, iHealthOX, uses proprietary technology, personal health information and online healthcare teams to suggest possible providers to users all across Canada. iHealthOX was created by Canadian top tech and mental health entrepreneur Terri Storey who designed it to allow faster access to the mental health services individuals need, often allowing for same day results.
Unfortunately, despite the need for increased mental health services, there aren’t enough in-person providers in the country to meet this need. As a result of this disparity, the cost of treatment is on the rise. Alternatives, such as the use of apps and other technologies, can often be the best option for those in need. A slew of new mental health apps and other resources are being created as an attempt to fill the gaps, and the U.S. has temporarily relaxed tech rollouts that are mental health related, allowing for most options to be implemented more quickly than before the pandemic.
iHealthOX will allow for instant access to more than 1,500 healthcare providers. These include, according to Storey, “naturopaths, MDs, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, mental health nurses, pediatricians, psychologists, wellness coaches, and nutritionists.” The variety of available providers also allows for coordination of care.
iHealthOX allows employees and their families to reach out privately to healthcare teams by phone, text, or email. Patient intake surveys gage the level of treatment needed. This includes “clinical assessments, member preferences and experiences, and the individualized needs of each user,” Storey said. Should these instruments determine a patient is in need of care, iHealthOX will generate a personalized program, including number and length of sessions as well as the types of sessions needed. Online appointments can usually be made the same day.
iHealthOX also reaches out to members on a regularly via surveys and check-ins by a certified mental health coach, and members have access to self-assessment tools they can administer anytime, web-based content such as digital courses and meditations, as well as their personal health record.
“While the COVID pandemic has helped reveal just how pervasive and serious the mental health crisis is in Canada, it’s also exacerbated the situation and demonstrated how Canada’s current system of accessing healthcare make matters worse and does not adequately consider how we operate today as individuals,” said Storey. “Consequently, despite all the education and energy invested in wellness research and programs today, outcomes are not changing. We need to make mental health more accessible and effective for everyone and make it easier for them to navigate their own mental well-being. Thanks to the latest technology and online platforms, distance and travel are no longer barriers to accessing care, and we have numerous ways to connect patients and practitioners in meaningful relationships that suit their needs, preferences and lifestyle.”
According to government data, more than “500,000 Canadians miss a day of work due to mental health issues.” This costs Canada roughly “$50 billion dollars in direct costs and lost productivity.” The toll seems to only be worsening as the pandemic continues.