With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping many of your employees indoors, telemedicine has emerged as a convenient for employers to expand access to quality healthcare for their workforce. In 2018, a survey by the Business Group on Health revealed that only 52% of employers believed in virtual care as the future of healthcare delivery. Today, the number surpasses 80%.
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Unlike most things, healthcare services have an inverse relationship between cost and quality: the better the quality, the lower the cost. Unfortunately, the current health benefits market is completely opaque and lacking any meaningful, realistic transparency. Additionally, we have always been taught that easy = better when designing health benefits programs for employers and their employees. However, the cost and quality of healthcare can vary dramatically within the same city. Utilization Management for example, where your members access healthcare, is one of the single most important additions to your health plan design.
Telemedicine describes the practice of allowing physicians to provide healthcare services to their patients remotely and in real-time. Technology advancements in videoconferencing and audio calls have made this an increasingly viable option for employees as opposed to traveling multiple miles to their local primary care clinic. In this blog, we’ll discuss all the reasons employers should be looking towards telemedicine as a means for expanding healthcare access in 2021 and beyond.
Reducing Spread of Infectious Illnesses
It’s no secret that clinic waiting rooms are full of potentially sick patients. Additionally, these rooms are sanitized in before open and after close, but rarely in between. Telemedicine provides the best option for employees looking to avoid spreading illness, and potentially getting ill, at their primary care physician’s office.
Less Time Spent Acquiring Care
Traditionally, when employees travel for healthcare, these trips can often take up to an hour round trip. Seeking care from licensed specialists could potentially double this time spent on the road. Telemedicine allows you to leverage the expertise of your primary care physician from the comfort of your own home. Instead of driving to a clinic, then waiting for your appointment, employees are able to consult with a specialist while reducing the time spent on mundane tasks.
With telemedicine being so easy and convenient to use for your employees, studies show that these individuals are increasingly seeking access to care – especially those who were hesitant to access traditional means of medical care. COVID-19 has forced many to delay regular treatment, however, nearly 1 in 3 patients expect to increase their care utilization post-pandemic. Providing virtual care options will assist employees in achieving these health goals.
Telemedicine provides an alternative way for employers to provide quality care for their employees. Applications such as AkosMD and other technology allow patients to receive care from the palm of their hands, in real-time. Employers of all sizes should seriously consider virtual care as a method for expanding access to care.