Telemedicine has been existing for decades, right from the times when medical professionals were communicating with the patients over the radio and television. However, it has advanced over the years, and many prefer using telemedicine as a source of medical care. This has proven more useful, especially with the current COVID-19 outbreak.
A few shortcomings like the potential privacy and regulative concerns, quality of healthcare, and technical issues have put telehealth measures on the back-seat for many employees, before the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the pandemic has thrown the spotlight on the benefits of using digital health solutions and wellness technology for medical care.
Owing to the social distancing norms and restrictions to go out, including the hospital, telemedicine has made it easier for patients to receive medical care and also boosted the federal funding by $200 billion.
Being an intuitive, comfortable, and safe approach to digital wellness technology, telemedicine has been adopted by many employees and employers, and is here to stay for a long time.
Another article also said that there was a 1,398% growth in the adoption rates of telemedicine from 2014 to 2018.
Here are a few logical reasons why employees have started to embrace telemedicine and digital wellness technology.
Limited Access To Health and Wellbeing Care Facilities
Employees living in rural areas are deprived of adequate health and wellbeing care facilities. A report by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) revealed that there are only 13.1 doctors for every 10,000 people in the rural areas, compared to the 31.2 doctors per 10K people in the urban areas. Also, if someone from the rural area needs hospital or specialization care, they might have to travel almost 200 miles to get to the nearest hospital. The doctors in rural areas are mostly general physicians who are trained to diagnose many common health issues. However, for specialization care for mental wellness, obstetrics, and cardiovascular issues, the availability is thin or almost zero.
On the other hand, advancing digital technology has almost 81% of the employees in the US using smartphones. This means wellness technology and digital healthcare is available to them right at their fingertips. No traveling long distances to consult health specialists, no waiting times, and no geographical boundaries either. No wonder, rural areas are fast adopting the telehealth measures rapidly.
As Trusted As In-Person Healthcare
Healthcare, for many, is synonymous with Trust. That is why people revisit the same physician because they trust them and their advice. Establishing trust in-person is easier than with virtual healthcare. However, the myth is now changing. A University of Rochester Medical Center study reported that telehealth solutions offered almost the same quality of healthcare that was as effective as in-person medical care. Another American Journal of Managed Care study revealed that employees who resorted to virtual healthcare consultations had lower hospital revisits and admission rates. Also, the levels of mental health issues like anxiety, stress, and depression were much lower with telemedicine.
Saving More With Telemedicine Sessions
Quality healthcare today comes at a huge price, and studies show that healthcare costs can rise by 5.3% in 2021. Expensive healthcare costs could be one of the reasons why people usually put off visiting hospitals and seeking medical care. On the other hand, telemedicine costs much lesser than the out-patient consultation charges. Studies show that with telehealth solutions, many people are saving an average of almost $495 per consultation session.
The telemedicine scenario is changing quite a bit. Employees are ready to embrace new digital technology, and employers are stepping up to cater to employee health and wellness needs, more smartly.
Employee health and wellness has become a priority for many employers, globally. And so, they have started offering corporate wellness programs that focus on motivating employees to adopt healthier lifestyle habits for holistic wellness. As a part of these workplace wellbeing programs, employers are also offering telehealth and digital wellness solutions like health coaching and professional consultations. Employees can access these digital health solutions from their wellness platform or via phone calls. Also, they can save a lot of money.
All these reasons have prioritized adding telemedicine and digital health solutions as one of the key offerings of a well-planned employee benefits package. Be it by integrating through the wellness platforms as a part of the wellbeing programs, as educational resources, or as medical consultation and care, telemedicine can be beneficial to employees and employers in many ways.