This article was published on March 27, 2018 on Employee Benefit News, written by Sally Poblete.
If you’re an employer looking to buy insurance for your employees, chances are you’ve heard about telehealth. But what is telehealth all about? Telehealth is a way for healthcare providers to deliver services through telecommunications services that enable patients to get the advice of a specialist remotely. It’s a great opportunity for employers to increase the availability of healthcare services, reduce costs and boost organizational productivity while also making employees happy simultaneously.
Here are three reasons why telehealth may benefit your employees — and your business.
1. Telehealth democratizes healthcare for all. Not every small business or its employees need to live close to top-notch healthcare providers, but it shouldn’t mean they can’t have access to the best and most relevant specialists. For example, you may have employees who need access to nutritionists, psychiatrists or pain management specialists, and telehealth can ensure access to such relatively rare doctors in spite of the physical locations of employees. A telehealth system can offer benefits with access to a global network and can provide services that exceed the offerings of more classic plans.
2. Cost and time savings. Telehealth can save employees time from doctor visits. Instead of having to go to a generalist, get referred to a specialist and then pay a visit to the specialist just to understand the root of a health issue, employees can skip ahead initial visits to communicate their health concerns. Thus, they only go to the doctor’s office when it’s absolutely necessary. Employers also can benefit from the availability of doctors via telecommunication services by the time employees save and the reduced amount of time out of office due to doctor appointments.
3. Early diagnosis = future savings. It’s not news that there is a chronic disease epidemic in the country, but you can protect your employees and your business in the best way possible by encouraging early diagnosis. It’s much easier to chat with a doctor over video call about symptoms rather than arranging one’s schedule to accommodate a physical visit. Earlier diagnosed diseases are much more likely to have less costlier outcomes, and businesses can save a lot of money for all parties involved by offering telehealth services. Furthermore, frequent monitoring that is a possibility through telehealth reduces hospital visits by 50% for those who already have chronic diseases.