The convergence of digital communication and medical care is transforming healthcare in the workplace. Thanks to a surge in telehealth services in recent years, affordable care is now available and accessible 24/7. It’s no surprise then that telehealth has become an increasingly popular choice for employees, employers, and medical professionals alike!
Telehealth services benefit both employees and employers—it’s a win-win solution. Employees get access to the care they need, often at a more affordable price and with fewer time constraints. These services are also usually cheaper for businesses to sponsor—not to mention the HR benefits that come from improved retention and recruitment, and also generally having a healthier, more productive workforce. And these positive outcomes hold true for full-time, remote, hybrid, and independent work models!
Let’s find out more about why so many businesses—big and small—are embracing the telehealth revolution.
Why Are Telehealth Services Becoming More Popular?
Telehealth leverages the convenience of computers, tablets, and mobile devices to connect remotely with healthcare providers and services. This tracks with a growing demand for remote services writ large, which saw a substantial uptick in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While services might be as simple as refilling prescriptions or accessing personal health records, offerings are expanding all the time. In addition to virtual appointments with healthcare practitioners (the Zoom meeting has reached your doctor’s office as well), telehealth services can use digital tools to track, transmit, and analyze your vitals without even coming in for a checkup.
A patient with more acute illness, such as a sore throat or rash, can contact online physicians via their phone or laptop. Consider too how this simplifies long-term treatment: surgeons can monitor how a patient is doing after an operation remotely; for patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and congestive heart failure, monitoring becomes easier when they don’t have to schedule a bunch of in-person recurring appointments.
Thanks to continued strong uptake, positive perception, and further technological investment, the adoption of telehealth services has skyrocketed since the onset of Covid-19. According to McKinsey, as of July 2021, people used telehealth services 38 times more frequently than pre-pandemic!
What Kind of Medical Services Are Provided?
Telehealth services largely depend on the provider you chose. Some focus exclusively on primary care or mental health (teletherapy), while others might offer more comprehensive packages including urgent care, worker’s injury, and a variety of medical specialties.
Primary Care and Urgent Care
Primary care comprises essential, day-to-day treatment from a general healthcare practitioner. Telehealth services offer personalized, convenient, and flexible care via an audio or video consultation with a provider, without the need for an in-person visit—think general checkups, prescription refills, and minor symptom diagnosis. In a non-emergency setting, patients can schedule these appointments at their convenience, usually without having to plan far in advance.
If a need for urgent care arises—think an injury or illness that isn’t necessarily life-threatening, but needs prompt attention—telehealth services can also provide access to doctors, nurse practitioners, or physician’s assistants 24/7. They can advise a patient on, for example, whether their abdominal pain and cramps calls for a visit to an emergency room, if a cut or a head injury requires further treatment, and whether a child’s fever needs immediate attention.
Mental Health or Teletherapy
Perhaps nowhere has telehealth’s popularity exploded more than mental health services. In fact, many therapists have integrated telehealth channels in their general practice, whether it’s one-on-one or group, shorter- or longer-term therapy.
Patients can access mental health services over the phone, online via video chat or platforms such as Zoom, or on messaging apps—it’s incredibly convenient. Licensed therapists and counselors are available on a flexible schedule to address concerns such as grief, loss, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, job-related stress, eating disorders, ADHD, and more. Other general advice, such as life coaching, nutrition, and quitting smoking or drinking, is also offered.
Proactive employers recognize the need for top-quality medical care, workers’ compensation, and injury benefits to ensure employee health and wellbeing. This might include specialist referrals, injury treatment, workers’ compensation coordinators, and continued care management.
An essential element in providing care for employees is the ability to ensure timely, 24-hour access to qualified healthcare personnel. Introducing telehealth into your workers’ compensation program provides a remote way to appropriately evaluate injured workers, cut down on trips to the clinic, improve self-care management, and minimize costs. This is especially important in light of concerns regarding in-person care and the potential for workplace infection—not to mention a substantial increase in remote work.
In addition to the above general categories, patients can also use telehealth services for a select number of specialty treatments. As technology continues to improve, the list of accessible services will only expand further.
Dermatology is the treatment of diseases related to skin, hair, and nails, as well as specific cosmetic issues. Since these conditions are frequently visible to the naked eye, telehealth is particularly useful for fast and easy diagnosis and treatment. Video calls allow dermatologists to assess the situation and diagnose remotely.
In addition to video conferencing, an online appointment with a dermatologist could include sending photos of particular complaints—such as rashes and suspicious growths or moles—and prescription of medication. Should the specialist have any concerns (for example, a potential melanoma) they may request an in-person appointment, but telehealth drastically reduces the amount of time spent trekking to the office.
More specialized than general therapy, psychiatry can often involve the prescription of medication to combat depression, maladaptive behavior, or bipolar disorder. Telehealth psychiatric services offer all the same perks as remote therapy, and is both flexible and private.
Chronic Disease Management
Chronic ailments—such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and heart disease—require integrated, high-quality, coordinated care, which is costly to administer. Check-ups, screening, education, monitoring, and managed treatment are essential, often resulting in patients constantly running back and forth from appointment to appointment.
Telehealth services offer a way out from these stacked schedules. Virtual consultations, allied with digital monitoring devices, can help manage patient conditions and medication needs remotely. This makes it possible to track behavior and follow up on treatment schedules, as well as lifestyle choices. Not only do these measures improve a patient quality of life, they also help reduce healthcare costs and hospital readmissions.
Some telehealth services even offer cost-effective online Covid-19 testing. Some features might include in-app Covid assessment, PCR tests, and medical diagnosis support. Providers might also make onsite nurses available to facilitate swabbing, after preliminary virtual screening.
How Can Telehealth Services Benefit Your Company?
Telehealth services are a smart choice for any employer. In the wake of the “Great Resignation,” the labor market has become an employee’s game. Businesses have to offer the most robust, comprehensive packages possible in order to stay competitive!
In an era of remote work, telehealth also makes it easier for your on-the-go staff to get the treatment they need. Telehealth means employees don’t have to forego essential care due to conflicting work demands. And from a financial perspective, it helps contain the rising cost of care for employers and lowers health insurance premiums.
Doctegrity: Unique Telehealth Service Solutions
A healthy staff is a productive staff. Telehealth services offer one more option in your arsenal to make sure your team is well cared for. Far more than just a recruiting tool, telehealth ensures that employees have access to care around the clock—and don’t have to take dozens of sick days in order to receive treatment.
As the uptake of—and demand for—telehealth services continues to rise, it’s important to find the right provider for your business. That’s where Doctegrity comes in.
With no copays and an easy subscription model, Doctegrity offers a unique, low-cost, comprehensive telehealth solution for employers. Our bilingual team of board-certified doctors are available around the clock, for a wide variety of services—we cover over 75% of common conditions!
Your team deserves the best care available. Contact Doctegrity to see how telehealth can boost your healthcare benefits offerings today.