Employers Turning to Telehealth and Telemedicine Boost Wellness Initiatives
With the healthcare industry experiencing a notable physician shortage and the increasing prevalence of new digital health tools and services, companies are actively seeking innovative new solutions to improve their employees’ health and wellness. In fact, a survey conducted by Towers Watson, a leading global professional services company, recently reported that more than one-third of large U.S. employers already offer telehealth and telemedicine offerings to their employees, with another 12% looking to add these capabilities within the next two years. In doing so, these companies are unquestionably better positioning themselves to more effectively manage ever-growing healthcare costs by keeping employees healthy and productive.
Containing the staggering costs related to chronic diseases and meeting the healthcare needs of an aging workforce are chief concerns among large U.S. employers, especially as many continue to elect to provide healthcare insurance for their employees. At this point, employers seem to be doubling down on their efforts to control health care costs, and support their employees’ health and decision-making by tapping into and expanding telehealth programs. Even with an increasing number of employees choosing health plans with higher deductibles, corporations seem to lack confidence that private health exchanges can perform these functions and control their costs curves as well as they can.
Corporate Healthcare Strategies Are Evolving
Another reason corporate wellness programs are gaining traction through telehealth initiatives is due to their proven effectiveness in helping employers’ engage in preventive healthcare approaches that seek to keep workers healthy in the first place. To this end, health and benefits administrators are adding services such as remote patient monitoring, wellness counseling, and direct access to healthcare professionals via video and voice technologies. These services offer increased access to healthcare and greater convenience for employees at a price point that are commonly more cost-effective than traditional doctor visits.
Corporate health and benefits administrators are increasingly recognizing how telehealth opportunities are lining up with changes in employee-patient preferences as wearable health tracking devices are gaining more mainstream acceptance. Consumers are looking for ways to quantify their health and devices such as the Fitbit, Jawbone, Microsoft wearables and others are making it easier for consumers to better understand how their lifestyles are impacting their health and make improvements. When these devices are supported and encouraged in the workplace, companies have found that employee engagement had improved significantly. Digital health technologies such as activity trackers and mobile health (mHealth) apps clearly can be a game changer for corporate wellness programs. These devices and their software are reshaping people’s expectations around health data and advancing their desire to interact and share it.
Considerations for Corporate Wellness Using Telehealth and Telemedicine
Employers can play a more significant role in the healthcare of their employees by engaging and empowering employees using telemedicine and telehealth services. Listed below are a few key concepts for your consideration.
- Employees struggling with health issues can drain a company’s productivity and significantly impact overall morale. However, by offering convenient access to health professionals – employees are less likely to miss work, or take time off to get the care they need for themselves or their family.
- By using telemedicine appropriately, instead of in-person visits to a doctor’s office, emergency room or an urgent care facility, corporations can lower overall downstream costs and mitigate the potential for lower workplace productivity.
- Nurse advice and decision support lines can be an invaluable assist for employees with health questions and problems and promote better healthcare decision-making.
- Remote patient monitoring enables employees to confidentially share health information with licensed health professionals that can help to effectively manage chronic conditions and reduce costly hospital readmissions and emergency room visits.
By initiating a corporate wellness program supported by telehealth, companies can provide the education, motivation and healthcare support workers’ need in their everyday lives. For organizations seeking to improve the impact of their corporate wellness initiatives, telehealth and telemedicine can serve as a genuine catalyst for employees to take a more active role in improving and maintaining their own health.
FONEMED CAN HELP
If you are looking to enhance your organization’s wellness initiatives through telehealth and telemedicine, we would like to hear from you. We would be happy to work with you to develop a custom wellness solution that helps your workplace be a healthier and more productive environment. Contact us today!
At Fonemed, we know that cornerstones of any effective wellness program involve improving access to care, addressing occupational health and safety needs and managing healthcare costs. Accordingly, our personalized wellness programs help patients maximize their overall health and quality of life by providing access to care complimented by health education programs and materials designed to better enable individuals to attain and maintain wellness. We offer HIPAA-compliant solutions that safeguard patient privacy and the expertise that comes with nearly two decades in the telehealth industry.