The popularity of Telemedicine increased steadily over the last year. Virtual Health today is so common, it makes us question why it took so long to introduce virtual prescription renewal. What’s more, is Telemedicine is working it’s way into the world of popular employee benefits. With that in mind, we’re here to tell you why you should consider adding it to your company’s plan asap.
According to a study by McKinsey, telemedicine use has increased 38x since prior to Covid-19. It acts as a way to deliver healthcare in a safe manner, also allowing for easier access, outcomes, and affordability. Now, post-pandemic, the future of telemedicine and its benefits have become increasingly obvious. 40% of consumers report they will continue to use telehealth services going forward, as opposed to only 11% who were using these services prior to Covid-19.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is where technology meets healthcare. The pandemic highlighted the benefits of virtual resources, with telemedicine being no exception. Also referred to as “telehealth” and “virtual care”, telemedicine uses telecommunications technology to help treat, consult, and diagnose individuals virtually.
This differs from in-person treatment as it doesn’t involve a physical exam during the initial consultation. In addition, doctors can monitor their patients remotely. Telemedicine strives to make health care accessible to people who can’t easily access in-person services. It improves communication between the patient and medical professionals, supports self-management of health care, and makes these services available for those who have a limited time frame, mobility, or transportation.
Furthermore, employees are able to be more flexible when it comes to booking appointments. They can choose how often and when they need a service easily over an app. There are many telemedicine providers which offer a multitude of care options. Depending on one’s preferred communication channel, options include video call, phone, or text. This flexibility enables patients to take charge of their own health in an environment they feel most comfortable. With increased convenience, consumers have more time for routine care, with many types of care that are now delivered virtually.
3 Common Types of Telemedicine
Interactive Medicine: Real-time communication between patients and medical professionals (i.e via video chat).
Store and Forward: Sharing patient information with a medical professional in another location.
Remote Patient Monitoring: Enables caregivers to monitor patients remotely by observing data collected through mobile medical devices.
How Do You Use Telemedicine?
An individual’s telemedicine journey may consist of these following steps: Intake, Consult, Outcome, Follow-Up.
This parallels an in-person format. In the first step Intake, the patient uses the telemedicine provider’s website or app. They responds to questions that will help guide them on the next steps they should take within this process. Next, patients connect with a medical professional who helps them with their individual health needs in the Consult step. This is followed by the Outcome, where the patient receives a plan for their tests and prescriptions. Lastly, in the Follow-Up phase, the medical professional will reach out to see if the patient is recovering properly, and to see if they need any more resources.
For Employees and Companies
Why should you offer your employees telemedicine benefits? Offering health benefits can help your organization attract and retain talent. Moreover, it helps convey how much you value your employees and their wellbeing. Wellness is often a primary aspect individuals take into consideration when choosing an employer.
Telemedicine also reduces absenteeism. In Canada, employee absenteeism costs employers $16.6 billion per year, which is an average of $2000 per employee. How does telemedicine factor in? It strengthens employee work-life balance, which minimizes the time spent away at work. Telemedicine can help employees work better and be more productive in the office.
Lastly, your employees will have an easier time improving their overall health and wellbeing. Because they are able to easily access online care services, employees will be better prepared to manage their own health. Telemedicine offers a way to reduce healthcare costs, decrease wait time, all the while increasing access to healthcare for everybody. Telemedicine can help build a healthier workforce and is an essential way to attract talent while helping your employees stay engaged.
Using telemedicine has many benefits for providers as well. An online format enables practices and healthcare systems to efficiently provide care to patients, as these technologies are integrated with medical records. Furthermore, it may result in increased revenue as medical professionals are able to help more patients without the need for more office space.
There are also several services telehealth offers. Patient portals act as a substitute for emails with your primary clinic and is a secure tool patients may use to communicate with doctors, review test results, schedule appointments, and more. In addition, virtual appointments are online video “visits” with a medical professional, followed by home care strategies or prescriptions which may be offered by your company. Remote patient monitoring collects health data from a patient and sends it to a healthcare professional to review, a service often used for seniors. Other services could look like personal health apps, which help individuals self manage their health care by helping track caloric intake, record physical activity, schedule reminders, or storing personal health information.