Once just an emerging trend, with the COVID-19 pandemic virtual health care has fully emerged as a necessary part of health care in Canada. That said, more than half, 55 per cent of Canadians surveyed say they do not know how to find virtual health care services.

Sun Life Financial’s Lumino Health Network, a service launched in the fall of 2018, provides access to over 12,000 health care providers who offer virtual care services. The platform also provides access to a search engine to find local dentists, massage therapists, mental health professionals and other health care professionals, access to more than 14-million ratings submitted by Sun Life clients and their family members, and cost information to help compare how much each provider charges.

The survey of 1,001 Canadians conducted for Lumino Health found that awareness about the benefits of virtual care is high – around 72 per cent. When asked what they believe are the main benefits of virtual care, those surveyed said the speed with which they could connect with a health care professional was cited as a benefit 40 per cent of the time, convenience was the main perceived benefit 54 per cent of the time, and no waiting rooms was identified as virtual care’s main benefit 50 per cent of the time.

Overall, the survey found that 49 per cent of Canadians surveyed say the pandemic is having a negative impact on their physical health. Nearly 60 per cent report having mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. Despite these concerns, only a small percentage said they are seeking treatment – only 21 per cent have sought professional care for their physical and mental health ailments.