Telehealth rose in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost out of necessity. With lockdown orders in place, and people wanting to remain out of crowded medical facilities unless they needed life-saving care, telehealth provided a convenient way to stay on top of medical needs.
Yet, with the worst of the pandemic behind us, telehealth has remained popular for a variety of reasons. The American Medical Association reports that about one-quarter of all patients used some form of telehealth in 2022, which was much more than the 5% of patients who did so before the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, more and more companies are offering telehealth services to their employees. But, this isn’t being done just in response to employee demand. Telehealth also provides a plethora of benefits to employers. Here are some.
Helps Control Costs
It’s no secret that health-care costs are rising year after year. More people have more serious medical needs, which is increasing the cost of the care and the insurance to cover the care.
Telehealth can help both employers and employees control those costs somewhat, which is important considering high-deductible health plans are now the norm rather than the exception.
Health Affairs reports that the average visit to the doctor’s office costs $146, compared to only $79 for the average telehealth visit. Over time, these savings can compound to provide significant cost reductions for both employers and employees.
Helps Mitigate Serious Medical Issues
Telehealth isn’t a fit for every type of visit, of course. There are plenty of medical needs that require in-person care.
What telehealth is a great fit for is preventative care. And preventative care is no minor thing.
Staying on top of regular primary care visits can help prevent significant health issues and also identify potential concerns before they become major problems. Telehealth removes many of the barriers to attending these primary care visits, including taking time off from work to go and fitting it into your busy schedule.
Since telehealth is so flexible, it actually encourages more people to schedule preventative care, which in turn helps to lower rates of more serious health issues.
Increases Access to Providers
One of the biggest positives to telehealth is that it increases access to medical providers. People in rural areas of the country, for instance, may have to travel significant distances just to get to a medical provider.
Even people who live in more urban or suburban areas may have to travel long distances for care — or deal with a lot of traffic — to get to specialists who may not be located around the corner.
The travel time to and from these doctors’ offices may be enough of a hurdle to deter people from attending or seeking out help with an issue. Telehealth can cut through those hurdles and remove those barriers to getting the care.
Again, while some care requires in-person visits, there are many simple questions that can be answered via virtual visits. Pregnant women, for instance, who have questions can get them answered relatively quickly via telehealth services, which can help to reduce prenatal stress.
The same can apply to people with chronic issues such as diabetes.
Reduces Chance of Contagion
Another major benefit of telehealth is that it prevents people from spreading contagious diseases. This actually happens in two ways.
First, it keeps sick people with contagious diseases at home, rather than forcing them to visit a doctor’s office. This helps to protect the other patients who may be visiting the office for other reasons.
Second, since telehealth makes it more likely that people will seek medical care for potential contagious diseases, it keeps them at home rather than at a place of work. In turn, this keeps other employees at the workplace healthier, which results in better overall output and production from the company’s perspective.
This benefit of telehealth can’t really be understated for employers. Absences are a huge driver of reduced productivity and even morality around the office. When sickness spreads around the workplace, it can cause a significant amount of stress — in addition to the sickness itself — as others are forced to pick up extra work to compensate for the employees who are out sick.
Offer Telehealth Services with Beckham Insurance Group
There are numerous benefits that telehealth provides both employees and employers, which is why more and more companies are including it as part of their benefits package. Telehealth is more attractive to employees, plus it can help reduce costs for employers as well.
If your company is located in the Georgia or South Carolina region, you should work with Beckham Insurance Group to create a comprehensive benefits package for your employees. We can help you design a package that works for your employees and has their best interests in mind.