Many businesses have been hit hard by the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, and not just in terms of their balance sheets. The impacts of downsizing, closures, remote work schedules, illnesses, and even deaths has taken an emotional toll on the workforce.
In a survey of more than 1,000 full-time U.S. employees by Paychex, Inc., more than half of the respondents said their mental health had worsened during the pandemic, and about one-third said they were having difficulties maintaining their typical productivity level due to the state of their mental health.
Anxiety, depression and other mental wellness issues have grown during the pandemic, at the same time preventive practices like remote working and social isolation have made it harder for people to connect. But healthcare technology is helping to bridge the divide, bringing mental health resources to those who need them via smartphones and laptops.
Capital BlueCross, a leading insurer in the region, is among those embracing technology to boost access to care. The company recently announced its latest offering in mental wellness tools: a self-guided mobile app that can help users track, assess, and manage their whole health – physically and mentally.
The app, called NeuroFlow, is being offered at no cost to members of certain Capital BlueCross group plans, with plans to expand its availability. Members can use the app to complete personalized, self-care activities like breathing guides, journaling, or cognitive behavioral therapy exercises to help them build skills towards improved mental wellness. It also lets members track their mood, sleep, stress, and pain to view their progress, and they can earn gift cards for completing activities as they work to strengthen their mind-body connection.
“Our technology tools increase access to healthcare and not only help us respond to the rising rates of depression and anxiety brought on by the pandemic, they also help us deliver on our commitment to finding innovative ways to provide the best possible member experience,” said Capital BlueCross President and CEO Todd Shamash.
Beyond its mental wellness app, Capital BlueCross has been prioritizing remote access to mental wellness resources during the pandemic through its Virtual Care telehealth app, which offers 24/7 access to medical visits, as well as visits by appointment with psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors. The insurer has even waived Virtual Care member fees through June 30, 2021, so its eligible members won’t face copays, coinsurance, or deductibles for its Virtual Care services.
The general public can access all of these same services through the Virtual Care app, though without the discount offered to Capital BlueCross members.
Notably, Capital BlueCross helped bring NeuroFlow to market through the Lancaster-based Smart Health Innovation Lab (iLab), which it co-founded in 2018. The lab works to bring emerging healthcare technologies to market faster and advance cutting-edge technology aimed at improving health outcomes for patients. NeuroFlow was among the iLab’s first graduates.