Telemedicine Makes Life Easier for Employees, More Affordable for Employers
By Dani Smith
Can you relate?
You’re woken by a sick child, and a feeling of helplessness sets in. You quickly cancel your meetings and rearrange your workday so you can travel to the doctor. You arrive early and then sit for an hour in a crowded waiting room full of sick people, trying to quarantine yourself from floating germs. Huddled in the corner chair, keeping your child close –partially for comfort, but mainly to prevent them from picking up any additional germs, your name is finally called. You go to the exam room, only to wait for another hour for the doctor to see you. After a two-hour ordeal, you see a doctor for five minutes who will confirm what you already know – your child is sick – and who will then write a prescription, charge you a co-pay and send you on your way.
By the time you’re done, you’re drained, your child is miserable, you need to go to the pharmacy and again wait for your prescription, all while wondering whether the strep throat your child has will be compounded with the awful flu bug everyone in the waiting room was battling.
The irony of the situation is not lost on us.
As a single mom raising three children, telemedicine became the healthcare miracle I needed after spending countless sick days this way.
Telemedicine Adapts to Today’s Busy Lifestyles
For busy parents or time-starved professionals, telemedicine has brought unprecedented access, convenience and efficiency to the traditional doctor’s office.
From a simple sore throat or an ear ache to pink eye or an itchy rash you can’t explain, telemedicine may be the answer. In less than 30 minutes, common ailments can be diagnosed and treated over the phone or computer without leaving the house or office.
For those who haven’t used telemedicine, it’s pretty simple: open a phone app, describe your symptoms to a licensed medical professional, and obtain a treatment plan and prescription, if medically necessary. Conveniently, all prescriptions are sent to pharmacies electronically, meaning you don’t even have to get out of your car if your pharmacy has a drive through. Similarly, most doctors can send a back-to-school or -work authorization electronically, too. This eliminates driving, waiting and anxiously anticipating your appointment time. For many common illnesses and conditions, telemedicine is also significantly less expensive to you as a patient – as well as your company benefit’s plan.
Explore Your Telemedicine Options as an Employer
If you haven’t looked into the merits of your telehealth program, it’s definitely worth perusing. As an employer, there are numerous ways we can help expose greater numbers of your workforce to the benefits of using your telehealth program. We suggest you talk to your broker about:
· How a telemedicine service can help your company save money on overall healthcare costs
· How telemedicine can help increase productivity, reduce absenteeism and improve employee satisfaction
· How to effectively implement and promote a telemedicine program that your employees will actually use
In a 2014 study, Towers Watson found that telemedicine had the potential to generate $6 billion in annual healthcare cost savings for U.S. employers. Learn how you can maximize this benefit.