What new technology can do to promote health and wellness

Close to 400 participants from the group insurance industry attended Forum 360° events in Montreal and Toronto on February 23 and 24, and Vancouver and Calgary on March 2 and 3.

The speakers, Josée Dixon, Senior Vice-President of Group and Business Insurance at Desjardins Insurance, and Luc Sirois, co-founder and Executive Director of Hacking Health and HH Accelerator, brilliantly demonstrated just how much technology is evolving in the group insurance industry. While often seen as a source of stress, new technologies can actually generate incredible benefits when used properly. They can help prevent illness and absenteeism, and therefore reduce group insurance plan costs. They can also mitigate a number of increasingly prevalent risk factors, such as the aging population, physical inactivity and obesity.

Technology can help promote health because it reaches employees in new ways. Mobile apps can identify the first signs of stress. And not only that; apps can give employees concrete tools to stop their problems from getting worse—all in strict confidence. Connected devices are another example of how technology can promote health: a doll that changes colour to remind kids to put on sunscreen, or a connected pack of cigarettes that helps people quit smoking.

But how do you know for sure if these technological innovations will deliver the required health outcomes? Once again, Desjardins Insurance is on the cutting edge of innovation. It has partnered with Hacking Health, a non-profit organization that brings together health professionals and hackers (yes, hackers!) for events called “hackathons”, where they work together to develop innovative solutions, or prototypes, to help solve real problems and improve the health of all Canadians.

A good example of this partnership is the Health + Promotion Innovation Challenge sponsored by Desjardins and held in Montreal last November. The event brought together more than 200 participants who pooled their respective skills and knowledge to develop new health promotion tools. And, in 2016, more than a dozen of these “hackathons” will be held all across Canada.

As a leader in optimal health management, Desjardins Insurance is proud to lead this revolution. We hope that everyone interested will come out to our Hacking Health events, which will be held in numerous Canadian cities right across the country!

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