Telemedicine: The Employer Benefit that Pays Big Dividends
The alarm blares like a trumpet into the morning silence. It’s 6:00 am on Monday morning. Your throat hurts, you’ve been coughing all night, and you don’t want to leave the warmth of your bed.
But the kids need to be taken to school and you have a major presentation at work – you have zero time to waste sitting in a crowded urgent care waiting room. Luckily, you work for a company that understands colds are not reserved only for the weekends, which means your health benefits package includes a telemedicine program. You make an appointment quickly through web MD or TeleDoc, or Healthiest You, a telemedicine software application, and in just minutes you’re speaking with a real doctor from the comforts of your home. You save time and money, but still get the peace of mind from speaking with a physician.
The New World of Employer Health Benefits
A scenario like this is becoming more common as employers begin to offer telemedicine services to their employees. In fact, telemedicine is becoming so widespread that 96% of all major employers want to make telehealth services available to their employees this year. Telemedicine in the workplace offers employers a unique and beneficial way to ensure their employees are receiving timely and convenient health care. Employers can offer telehealth benefits as part of an overall health insurance package or even provide an access to a telehealth program or on-call physician.
Telemedicine offers a variety of benefits to both the employer and employee:
- Reduced cost of healthcare benefits and fewer out-of-pocket fees for urgent care or emergency room copays
- Fewer in-office visits and reduced absenteeism
- A healthier work force and increased productivity
Additionally, millennials now comprise the largest percentage of today's workforce. They’re more likely to adopt new technology than other generations, making them prime candidates for telehealth visits.
Telemedicine can also alleviate the concern some employees may feel about taking time off work for appointments. The traditional method of in-person doctor visits may actually have some employees missing important preventative care appointments. Nine in ten Americans stated they would cancel or reschedule a preventive care appointment due to workplace pressures. Millennials are especially prone to these pressures. Three in four working millennials say their employer has made them feel that they should avoid preventive care appointments during work hours.
Employers can show their employees how important their health is by providing telemedicine as a part of their benefits. GlobalMed’s Chief Clinical Officer, Gigi Sorenson, RN, MSN states that offering telemedicine benefits both the employees and the employer.
“Providing staff with the access to quality, timely care improves clinical outcomes and lowers overall costs,” Sorenson said. “Leveraging telemedicine platforms by employers shows a level of employee engagement and success that is above and beyond typical behavior. Employees don’t have to leave work, backlogs are not created, timely diagnoses and treatments expedite recovery, and employees feel a sense of care from their employer.”