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TELUS Corporation – 2019 SDG Leadership Awards

TELUS Corporation

Website: www.telus.com

Industry: Telecommunications

Primary SDG Focus

Secondary SDG Focus

sdg 17 Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals

Please summarize your company’s SDG focus, how was that SDG was implemented and how did achieved and measured the impact.

TELUS is committed to advancing SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being because we are on a mission to improve the lives of Canadians through the power of technology. We are creating better health experiences by offering solutions for practitioners and citizens, including Health for Good™, a program that brings primary healthcare to marginalized Canadians through mobile outreach clinics equipped with TELUS Wi-Fi and TELUS Health technology. As a result of unique partnerships between TELUS, community partners and health authorities, more than 10,000 patients have received care nationally through the five mobile clinics to date. Additionally, over 50% of patients receiving care through Health for Good were reintegrated into the public healthcare system and more than 5,000 safe consumption kits were distributed annually. In September 2018, we announced a $5 million commitment to expand the program nationally.

How was your primary SDG focus identified and prioritized in the company’s value chain?

Advancing SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being was a natural fit given that TELUS has been in the healthcare industry for more than 10 years. We believe that technology can have an important impact on transforming healthcare for all Canadians. It can improve health experiences by connecting doctors and other health practitioners with one another and with their patients. It can also harness information to make prevention and wellness more accessible to everyone. TELUS turns information into better health outcomes by:

  • Empowering doctors, nurses and extended health teams to coordinate and share information to provide integrated care efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Offering doctors, patients and their families the ability to share information anytime, anywhere to further involve patients in the management of their own health
  • Enabling pharmacists to provide better medication management and healthcare services for clients
  • Improving benefits claims management to make the process more efficient for employees, companies and insurance providers
  • Allowing hospitals, governments and health system managers to analyze information for finding best practices, evidence-based treatments and quality improvements
  • Encouraging patients to play an active role in managing their health at home and wherever life takes them

We prioritized health because we are well-positioned with our nation-wide telecommunications network and our emerging technology solutions to make a substantial impact on the lives of Canadians by addressing the #1 social challenge of our lifetime – healthcare efficiency and effectiveness. We have identified five key issues where our communications technology can make a positive difference:

  • Chronic disease management
  • Medication errors and non-compliance
  • Long wait times and poor access
  • Lack of focus on prevention and patient self-management
  • The need for performance improvement

How was your primary SDG integrated and anchored throughout your business?

As Canada’s leading healthcare IT provider, TELUS Health is one our primary lines of business. One way SDG 3 has been integrated throughout TELUS is by dedicating our greatest asset, our team members, to revolutionizing access to healthcare. With over 2,600 team members creating solutions for health providers and organizations, as well as personal solutions for Canadians, we are using technology to encourage wellness, better health and more effective health management.

For team members that are not directly contributing to TELUS Health, our organization-wide philosophy of We Give Where We Live brings our team members together to make a difference in our communities and the lives of others. Health is one of our three focus areas for driving positive social outcomes through acts of giving both big and small. Since 2000, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed more than $210 million towards health-related organizations

Our commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of our team members is the true anchor of Good Health and Well-being throughout the organization. In 2017, we launched a three-year wellness strategy centered on the following objectives:

  1. To systematically support organizational health and wellness at TELUS
  2. To make health connections at TELUS between people and resources
  3. To positively impact team member and family member health.

Our vision is to have team members equipped with resources and knowledge to customize their own wellness experience, improve their overall well-being, support the health of those around them and contribute to an elevated culture of wellness that permeates how we work.

Did you employ any innovative approaches in your efforts to implement the goal?

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One of the ways TELUS is advancing SDG 3 is by improving access to healthcare through the Health for Good program.

Today, there are over 30,000 Canadians experiencing homelessness on any given night, often living with complex health and addiction issues. These marginalized populations cannot easily access traditional medical care yet are in urgent need given the exponential rise in emergency room visits, many due to the unprecedented opioid crisis. That’s why TELUS enabled the Mobile Health Clinics, powered by TELUS Health. By leveraging our technology and human compassion we are bringing healthcare directly to the communities and people who need it most.

The Mobile Clinic, which is divided into two main areas: one for patient reception and nursing care and a second more spacious area, with an examination table and a doctor’s workstation, is equipped with TELUS LTE Wi-Fi network connectivity and TELUS Health Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solutions. This technology allows onboard doctors and nurses to collect and store data, examine results over time and provide patients with a better continuity of care.

TELUS is proud to have already launched Mobile Health Clinics in Montreal, Victoria, Vancouver, and Calgary, and is leading an effort to expand the program to communities across Canada. By working in collaboration with local partners that are already making a difference in healthcare provision in their respective geographies, a hyper-local approach will be developed for each region, embracing community giving and using TELUS Health technological innovations to build a better healthcare system in Canada.

Were any partnerships leveraged or created?

TELUS is committed to working with leaders and experts in the health industry. We create strategic partnerships with provincial health ministries and health authorities to truly understand where the gaps are in community health outreach.

Health for Good involved a multitude of cross-sector collaboration:

  • Government: Engaging health ministries and municipal health programs from program conception to understand the community use case.
  • Health Authorities: We are currently partnered with Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Island Health Authority. Partnership discussions are underway with Fraser Health Authority, Saint Elizabeth Health Care, Covenant Health, Alberta Health Services and Royal Ottawa Hospital.
  • Not for profit partners: Doctors of the World, Vancouver Coastal Health, The Alex and the Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia Hospital Foundation.

What communications strategy did you employ to share the initiative with your stakeholders?

The communications strategy for Health for Good focused equally on internal and external stakeholders.

The internal strategy centered on enabling advocacy through education. This included creating opportunities for TELUS team members to tour the Mobile Health Clinic and understand what it is first-hand. Additionally, we raised awareness and provided resources about Health for Good through our various internal communication channels.

Our external communications strategy included a number of tactics:

How were KPIs and the levels of success outlined and defined?

We have leveraged the expertise of partners like The Alex to help inform us on meaningful outcome measurement and reporting. The Alex is a best-in-class example of an organization that provides comprehensive support that addresses the continuum of social determinants of health and well-being.

Success of the Mobile Health Clinics is being measured in terms of both direct and indirect/subsequent impact to improving health outcomes for Canadians:

  • Number of patients served
  • Number of patients reintegrated into the public healthcare system
  • Number of safe consumption kits distributed

How were reporting and monitoring conceptualized and undertaken?

As mentioned, we leaned on the expertise of our partners to develop meaningful reporting and measurement for Health for Good. TELUS worked with The Alex to enable a digital ecosystem that underpins both medical and pharmacy records and aggregates reporting into data that can be used to inform the continuous refinement of their service delivery model. We have connected other mobile clinic partners, newer to this space, with The Alex to learn and implement these best practices.

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What were some key lessons learned?

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The intent of Health for Good is to provide a bridge for vulnerable populations to access health, addiction, and mental health support. The long-term goal is to stabilize and reintegrate these patients into the broader healthcare system for ongoing care. There are challenges in ensuring this transition happens seamlessly and we have learned to build comprehensive models of intervention, rather than provide episodic care. This means bringing together a broad group of stakeholders that can support not only health, mental health, and substance abuse issues, but also connect patients with housing, food, and employment. Defining a collaborative model that addresses critical needs within the clinic, and provides clear pathways and hand-offs to peripheral services is a key learning that we are implementing in all to-be launched mobile clinics. Typically this necessitates the involvement of regional health authorities or integrated health networks to ensure we develop an integrated model that bridges back to the traditional system.

What were the key impacts and results?

To date, the Mobile Clinics have served more than 10,000 patients nationally across our five existing clinics, helping to alleviate strain on the healthcare and emergency response systems. Over 50% of patients receiving care in a TELUS Mobile Health Clinic were reintegrated into the public healthcare system. Each patient visit enabled an opportunity for TELUS Mobile Health Clinic practitioners to proactively recommend interventions for each patient’s unique needs, and provide the patient with relevant substance use treatment options as needed and wanted. For example, more than 5,000 safe consumption kits are distributed annually.

Additionally, TELUS’ Electronic Medical Record (EMR) technology onboard the Mobile Health Clinics is making a long-term impact in the lives of these marginalized Canadians. By expanding our EMR technology from doctor’s offices to the mobile clinic’s community health practitioners, we are ensuring that typically nomadic patients with previously undocumented medical histories will have access to a better continuity of care as their data and results will be accessible to other healthcare practitioners.