Telehealth: Transforming the Value of Employee Benefits
When implementing a telehealth program into a benefits package, it has the potential to transform an employee’s access to healthcare. Instead of waiting weeks for an in-office visit, employees can now address concerns quickly and reduce the utilization of unnecessary emergency services. Telehealth is a common benefit these days, but industry professionals weren’t always so keen on the idea.
Originally, there was a concern that telehealth would not make a difference in an employee benefits plan because of the assumption consumers would prefer face-to-face interaction with their physician. However, despite anticipated concerns, telehealth has proven its value and more employers are offering telehealth year-over-year. Studies show that, recently, an estimated ninety-six percent of large employers provided telehealth services to their employees.
The Value of Telehealth
Here’s a common scenario: it’s a weekend and an employee is developing a swollen throat and low-grade fever. With his history of strep throat, he knows he’s due for another fight with the same contagious infection. To kick it, he needs antibiotics and rest as soon as possible. Instead of utilizing an urgent care facility that doesn’t fall under his health plan or waiting days to visit his physician in-person – he simply calls his telehealth provider to explain his symptoms, discuss treatment options and receive a prescription.
Telehealth has become an important element in providing convenient care to consumers for many reasons. For example, a dangerous winter storm in Michigan kept many residents at home while wind chills dropped below zero. Since residents were advised to avoid unnecessary travel, a local telehealth provider saw a spike in telehealth utilization. The patient’s accessibility to a physician saved some from attempting to drive to the hospital in dangerous road conditions.
Another example is from 2016 when Frederick Memorial Hospital launched a Chronic Care Management Program that targeted 150 patients with “high-risk” chronic conditions, such as COPD, chronic heart failure, hypertension and diabetes. The program was instrumental in identifying health issues and offering medical direction before the patient sought emergency care. The results cut their emergency room visits in half and lowered the number of rehospitalization and treatment costs by nearly 50 percent.
Telehealth’s Value is in Utilization
Currently, of the 96 percent of large employers that offer telehealth, only 20 percent report that at least 8 percent of their employees are using services. Since the value of an employer’s telehealth program is based on utilization, employees must be educated on its benefits, how to access it and when. Changing employee behavior takes employer dedication but by implementing awareness campaigns through email, posting information in break rooms and providing a simple way to access their benefits, employers can see results quickly.
Now, imagine if a component of your benefits plan did all of this for you, provided a Direct Primary Care membership that further diverted claims, and decreased overall healthcare expenses. With Healthcare2U | No-Claims Healthcare™ employers receive just that. By integrating into a current or new benefits package, we provide a cost-containment service that does not generate claims against a health plan. With our patient navigation feature, we provide members with one point-of-contact for their entire healthcare experience, directing them towards the appropriate avenue of care. In 2018 alone, our patient navigation diverted 25 percent of members seeking physician appointments towards our 24/7/365 bilingual telehealth service, minimizing claims from emergency room and urgent care utilization.
If you’re interested in providing your clients with unlimited physician access that includes telehealth at no additional out-of-pocket cost, contact the nation’s fastest-growing, integrated Direct Primary Care network – Healthcare2U at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 900-8900.