Daniel Martz, Vice president, Virtual Care, TELUS Health
Fueled by his passion for leveraging leading-edge technology to transform healthcare and improve health outcomes, Daniel leads the team responsible for TELUS Health Virtual Care in their mission to make healthcare more accessible for all Canadians. With a career spanning over 21 years and with leadership experience in multidisciplinary fields such as healthcare, technology and media, Daniel joined TELUS Health following the acquisition of EQ Care where he served as CEO for eight years. Prior to joining TELUS Health, Daniel held leadership positions at Bombardier Aerospace, Accenture and AT Kearney. An active member of the start-up ecosystem, Daniel also served as CEO of the media and advertising industries. He is passionate about developing solutions that bridge healthcare and technology. He believes that to design the big picture, one must be keenly aware of the details required to make the vision a reality. He holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University with honours, and a DEC in Health Sciences from Marianopolis College with honours.
How will you describe your inspiring journey with leadership experience in multidisciplinary fields such as healthcare, technology and media?
Early in my career, I was a management consultant in the banking and retail sectors. I had the opportunity to observe advancements in technology, particularly in the digital space with new innovations that put control back into consumers’ hands. But healthcare at the time was far behind in its use of digital technologies to benefit patients. I always thought to myself, what if we could apply the technological advancements being used by consumers in banking and retail to healthcare?
I moved into the healthcare space around 2008 and this came at a time when digital solutions were coming into this industry with the launch of the iPhone. Over the next decade, the advancements in this technology grew steadily giving patients new ways to connect with their care providers through voice, text, and video. I joined EQ Care, which made its virtual health solutions available to people through their workplace benefits plan. I was then able to continue my work with TELUS Health where my team leads a wide range of virtual care services for employees with a focus on care delivered by empathetic, compassionate healthcare professionals who guide users through every step of their healthcare journey with personal, human interaction. Ultimately, my interest and passion turned into a compelling career, and I am now committed to helping get high-quality healthcare to as many people as possible.
What do you have to say about the acquisition of Sprout Wellness Solutions, which is a leading digital health and wellness service focused on preventative health practices? And what was the motive behind this acquisition?
TELUS Health initially invested in Sprout Wellness Solutions back in 2015 as we recognized its potential to be an industry-leading holistic workplace wellness platform that could help improve the health and happiness of Canadian employees. The acquisition this year was an important next step in ensuring we are providing the latest innovations in employee health and wellness. As an established leader in digital health technology, Sprout and TELUS Health are a natural fit with closely aligned values. Canadians use TELUS Health digital tools every day to take control of their health whether at home, at work, or on the go. Likewise, Sprout’s platform encourages healthy behaviours through health risk assessments, wearable device integrations and activity tracking, health-based goals and challenges plus the integrated gamification of healthy active living among employees.
TELUS Health and Sprout share the objective of advancing the use of technology to expand access to high-quality, proactive health and well-being resources on demand. Our goal is to have this innovative digital solution help in advancing our virtual health “digital front-door strategy,” enabling a single point of entry to our employer-funded health solutions and creating an integrated virtual health ecosystem across preventative, proactive and primary care with enhanced capabilities. Importantly, although the Sprout acquisition is quite recent, we have made significant strides already with integrating it into the TELUS Health platform so customers can begin experiencing the benefits.
TELUS Health Acquisition Adds Leading Preventative Health Solution to its Ecosystem Click To Tweet
With organizations seeking to embrace more digital well-being empowerment tools for their team members, will this acquisition turn out to be a great support for Canada’s workforce at every step of their health journey?
Great question. Over the past five years, virtual care offerings for employees have grown rapidly and this was further accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now in a period where virtual solutions are moving beyond primary care and there is a focus on getting employees access to expanded health services such as mental health, nutrition, and preventative health supports through platforms like Sprout.
These preventative digital tools are a natural evolution and something we identified as vital to ensuring TELUS Health’s virtual care services could provide end-to-end employee care. By bringing Sprout’s technology into our ecosystem, we can now provide employers with a more fulsome spectrum of health supports to help increase employee engagement, but importantly, services that empower them to take control of their health and well-being.
How do you think that offering benefit plans to the employees are an effective digital tool to support their health? Will it be able to meet the needs of today’s workforce?
Virtual care and telemedicine started almost 30 years ago and the original model was intended to connect patients with a doctor in another location. It was ideal for those living in rural or remote parts of the country. This technology, and its use of it, has evolved quite dramatically and digital formats are slowly becoming the first point of connection with healthcare and how it’s delivered to many Canadians today. As such, having benefits plans that provide virtual care solutions is a must; we are seeing employees using these services more often with highly positive experiences. The focus now is on simplifying the process of accessing these services and bringing them all onto one platform which is what TELUS Health has been prioritizing. We recognize that Canadians have demanded in the workplace along with family and other personal commitments. They require services provided through their benefits plans that give them the care and support they need in a timely manner but in a way that is easily accessible whether they are at home, at work, or on the go.
What positive influence did the innovative health solution have on overall health and wellness that helped employees shift their mindset to more proactively focus on improving their overall health and happiness?
The truth is in the numbers. Sprout Wellness Solutions was founded in 2012 but leverages more than 25 years of academic research in the creation of its innovative digital services. The platform is now being used by top Canadian companies and leading pharmaceutical and healthcare technology companies. The number of users continues to grow along with the positive feedback. Users note that the platform is easy to use and has helped them better manage their physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing.
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What impact will the acquisition of Sprout have on TELUS Health? And how will it support the growth of TELUS Health’s virtual care ecosystem?
Bringing together our full suite of virtual care services with the new Sprout wellness and engagement program helps us further differentiate our virtual health offering, as employers now have access to even more employee support, all on a single platform. This acquisition is another example of how TELUS Health continues to grow its ecosystem to span every step of the health journey for employees, improving access to high-quality care and helping organizations support its workforce. This includes a suite of virtual and in-person health and wellness offerings including, virtual care, virtual pharmacy, medical centres of excellence, mental health support, and now digital employee wellness solutions through Sprout.