Telemedicine: The Antidote to Rising Healthcare Costs

By Kaitlyn Herwig

Telemedicine brings back the old-fashioned house call, with a modern twist. As healthcare costs for a business continue to rise, many are turning to telemedicine as a solution. Many years ago, a family with a sick child could call their doctor, and, in a couple of hours, see him or her at the front curb, emerging with the well-known “black bag.”

Times have changed, but at least when it comes to convenience, what was old is now new again.

Now, instead of arriving at your front door, your doctor shows up on your computer screen or even your smartphone. What’s the advantage for businesses? Well, when you add up the time the average employee spends out sick each year or misses work time to go and see a doctor during work hours, the numbers add up very quickly. Additionally, redirecting employees away from using Urgent Care, ER or costly specialists can significantly reduce the company’s healthcare expenses.

Businesses are starting to realize the value in employee health and wellness. Rising healthcare costs continue to choke many an annual budget, especially in the last five years. Businesses are looking for solutions and, in telemedicine, they have found a powerful one.

Telemedicine allows your employees to do anything from emailing for medical advice, talking to a nurse by phone, or scheduling a doctor’s visit through your smartphone.

Telemedicine generally refers to the use of technology for the delivery of efficient healthcare for acute non-emergency cases. Imagine the power this provides the average employer who is seeking to reduce healthcare costs and improve productivity?

Telemedicine gets medical advice and care to your employees quickly and efficiently. It helps them get prescriptions in less time. It also helps them get important advice to stay home more quickly, before they can spread any contagious conditions to anyone else in the office!

5 Benefits to Using Telemedicine in Your Business

1) Reduce absenteeism and therefore reduce lost productivity.

2) You get immediate help from a physician – no filling out forms and waiting in a doctor’s office surrounded by other sick people.

3) Reduce claims against your company health benefits policy

4) Telemedicine can reduce health care costs by up to 27% for those employers who pay for medical care. It can do so because it provides care in a less expensive setting: the patient’s home or office. There are no costly urgent care, emergency room or specialist charges.

5) Telemedicine is available at no cost to an employer. Who doesn’t like to provide more benefits to their employees at no additional cost?

A successful Telemedicine program begins with changing employee behavior toward accessing medical care. The implementation of a program should include a well-designed employee education and communication campaign on the benefits of using this service. Employers should choose a telemedicine partner with a proven track record of designing and implementing communication and education campaigns that increase awareness and engagement in benefit programs. This will ensure a successful implementation and put both the employer and the employee in the best position to reap the benefits of Telemedicine.

 

(Kaitlyn Herwig is a Regional Manager at AllyHealth Telemedicine. AllyHealth offers a variety of telemedicine solutions to small and medium sized businesses. AllyHealth offers program customization to best contain healthcare costs for a business and to create a happier workplace.  For more information, contact Kaitlyn Herwig at kaitlyn@allyhealth.net or (518) 369-4098.)

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