What Is Telemedicine?
Dr. Liji Thomas, MD, explains that telemedicine provides remote clinical services in which the patient and the healthcare provider communicate in real-time through the use of electronic audio and visual technology. Telemedicine is mostly used in primary care for non-emergency medical problems where patients may only but require help with services such as dosage adjustments, lifestyle regimens, prescription refills, etc.
What Are The Advantages of Telemedicine?
Telemedicine has numerous benefits for both employers and employees, including:
- Convenience: Telemedicine makes scheduling appointments, speaking with a doctor, and receiving a diagnoses and prescription both faster and easier.
- Less In Office Visits: With less in office visits, employees no longer have to stress about leaving work for an appointment, which means more employees will seek treatment and be able to recover quicker from their illness. This not only improves the overall health of employees, but also reduces absenteeism.
- Reduced Costs: Telemedicine creates a positive ripple effect throughout the organization. More employees taking advantage of their health benefits, less in office visits and reduced absenteeism all lead to reduced cost of healthcare benefits, fewer out-of-pocket fees for urgent care or emergency room copays, increased engagement and improved productivity. It is a win-win for everyone.
By offering telemedicine in the workplace, employers are providing employees with a unique and beneficial service that ensures they are receiving timely and convenient health care. GlobalMed’s Chief Clinical Officer, Gigi Sorenson, RN, MSN, summarizes the benefits of telemedicine like this, “Employees don’t have to leave work, backlogs are not created, timely diagnoses and treatments expedite recovery, and employees feel a sense of care from their employer.”
Getting Your Employees Engaged with Telemedicine
If you already offer telemedicine services or are a part of the 96% of employers who want to begin offering telemedicine this year, here are some tips from The Benefits Guide on getting your employees engaged!
- Inform: Make sure employees know what telemedicine is, when to use and when not to use telemedicine, the cost and convince factors of telemedicine, and be sure to reinforce the professional expertise and credentials of telehealth practitioners. The Benefits Guide suggests scheduling info sessions or “lunch and learns” to help communicate this information.
- Accessibility: The more accessible something is, the more likely employees will take advantage of it. Consider creating laminated wallet cards with the telehealth website and any login credentials so employees have the information with them at all times. You can also designate a specific telehealth space that employees can use during the workday.
- Relevance: Use communication platforms that are preferred by your employees. Consider surveying them to see if they will respond more to digital communication or printed materials. Then make that communication seasonal and emphasize telehealth offerings during flu, summer vacation or allergy season.
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