Reducing healthcare costs is at the forefront of medical care discussions nationwide. Like most employers, you’ve probably dealt with workers’ comp claims driving up insurance premiums. New studies point to a close link between telemedicine costs and benefits, with an estimated total savings of more than $6 billion across all U.S. businesses.
Mobile healthcare is the future of medicine and it can benefit your business now. Offering telemedicine for employees is a great way to not only improve your bottom line, but to also support the ever-changing schedules and hectic lifestyles of your employees.
Learn more about the wide range of telemedicine benefits—and how to make them work for your business—in the sections below.
Three key advantages of telehealth for employers
Telehealth services, such as Kura MD, employ the use of video technology to support injured workers with available medical care around the clock, seven days a week. A triage nurse with a background in emergency medicine first consults with a patient to establish the severity of the condition. This initial assessment determines if the employee can safely be treated remotely, or would be better served in person. Such televisits cut out waiting times, and only require a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
If a trauma does not require urgent care or a visit to the emergency department, an injured worker may then opt for a televisit with a physician trained in occupational injuries. Younger generations in particular tend to appreciate tech solutions for the convenience they provide, with telemedicine expected to become a workplace standard in coming years.
But exactly how can telemedicine reduce workplace costs for employers? There are plenty of reasons to consider offering telemedicine for your employees to improve both your workplace culture and your costs, including:
1. Improved time management
Apps such as Teladoc have become more commonplace, making it easier for injured employees to access the care they need, ultimately reducing health costs for employers. Telemedicine apps and websites can even include niche specialists who otherwise might not be available in rural settings. Immediate online access to care means faster recovery times, reducing health costs (one of the key telemedicine benefits for employers to consider).
This has a direct affect on the day-to-day working environment, both for employees and their bosses. Employees who are given the opportunity to schedule remote healthcare appointments are less likely to miss work. Such appointments eliminate wasted transportation time, and waiting in exam rooms for a rushed face-to-face meeting with an overburdened doctor.
Less time off is where telemedicine for workers compensation can provide significant benefits. By working with a health professional online, scheduling appointments and evaluations becomes much more convenient, decreasing time spent away from work and making it easier for employees to return after a health-related hiatus.
Treatment through telemedicine is ideal for busy schedules, all without sacrificing care. In fact, physicians more frequently follow-up with patients monitored via a mobile device, and spend extra time answering their questions. Workers feel their needs are being addressed. This serves to strengthen trust in the doctor-patient relationship, which improves employee morale.
2. Mental health and workplace productivity
In the wake of the successful implementation of telemedicine, a new segment of virtual healthcare has arrived, called telepsychiatry. This subset of telehealth aims to provide online mental health counseling services, providing a comfortable, convenient, and private way to get support from a specialist.
What are the advantages of telehealth for employers? If your turnover rates are increasing or your work productivity is slipping, you may have an employee burnout problem. Longer working days and constant connectivity can lead to chronic workplace stress. If not managed properly, employee burnout can easily become a deep-seated issue within a business.
In fact, a 2018 study by Deloitte found that 77 percent of surveyed employees reported burnout at their job, affecting productivity, company culture, and employee retention.
Consequences of untreated employee burnout are significant. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic stress can “negatively affect job performance and productivity, engagement with one’s work, communication with co-workers and physical capability and daily functioning.” And when poor mental and physical health combine, treatment costs can be as much as two to three times higher.
3. Better morale and company culture
Employers may not always consider company culture as being an integral part of cost efficiency—but it’s more impactful than you may think. When employees feel they are in a positive, supportive, and welcoming company culture, they are are more likely to invest their time, produce better outcomes, and, most importantly, they stay longer.
Offering telemedicine for employees can be a great way to decrease turnover by boosting morale and building a supportive culture. There’s no doubt that replacing employees is expensive, driving up human resource costs for the hiring and training process. Turnover cost is different from one business to the next, but the value of retaining employees can generally be found by looking at:
- Costs of creating a new job postings and interviewing candidates
- Costs of providing each new employee with training, supervision, guidance, and feedback
- Employee exit costs, such as paying out accrued vacation time, healthcare coverage, unemployment taxes, and severance
Giving employees access to telemedicine can also improve the way that employees (both potential and current) perceive the company. This increases the reputation of your company and makes it easier to both attract and retain high-quality workers.
Telemedicine for employees: The future of employer health benefits?
According to the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Concentra Occupational Health, “Patients who engage tend to be much more satisfied with telemedicine vs. in-person visits.”
Digital health tools can be relied upon to bolster the quality of care employees receive, which is a first step towards reducing health costs. This higher quality of care hopefully translates into shorter claim durations, and faster recoveries. With significant implications for improving cost, boosting employee morale, and enhancing efficiency, telemedicine is the future of employer health benefits.
At DHW, we’re proud to be your partners in protection, prevention, and risk management. It’s our goal is to be the last insurance brokerage you’ll ever need. Talk to an insurance broker expert today to discuss how we can help your business make the switch to telemedicine. Please contact Adam Emami at (650) 858-2375 or visit us at www.dhw-ins.com
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