Telehealth: The Next Big Thing in Corporate Wellness
Technology has changed the game for health care services and solutions.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, virtual health care, popularly known as telehealth, is the talk of the town. Although this service was in use even before COVID-19 arrived on the scene, there has been a steep rise in the use of the same post-pandemic.
According to a study by GlobalMed, in five years before 2019, telemedicine, which is a subset of telehealth, saw a growth of 44 percent. Additionally, McKinsey & Co. suggests the increase in the use of this service in the wake of the pandemic has led to a rise in investment in virtual health care.
McKinsey's survey revealed in April 2020 that 46% of U.S. consumers opted for telehealth more. McKinsey's study also showed that telehealth consumer adoption has increased from 11 percent in 2019 to 49 percent in 2020.
Telehealth has yet to achieve its full potential, but what does it mean? What are its benefits? And why should corporate leaders try the benefits of telehealth? Keep on reading to learn more.
What is telehealth?
According to Mayo Clinic, "Telehealth is the use of digital mediums, which include computers and mobile devices, to access health care services and manage your health care."
In other words, to access telehealth means individuals can avail of services such as :
- Remote diagnosis
- Detection of changes in their medical conditions and vital health signs
- Remote consultations
- Treatment from health care providers
Almost all Medicare, Medicaid services and programs in the U.S. offer some coverage for telehealth services.
Examples of telehealth include:
- Online patient portal
- Virtual appointments
- Remote patient monitoring
- Virtual consultations among primary caregivers and specialists
- Electronic Personal Health Record System or a PHR system
- Personal Health Applications
The latest Apple watch series holds the feature of monitoring the wearer’s ECG. After successfully recoding the ECG, the person can access the data in Apple’s health app. Apple has also provided the option to share this health data directly with a doctor as a PDF.
Suggested reading: Uprising Wellness Technology Trends And Leading Companies
In the corporate sector, employers have been interested in incorporating telehealth services' benefits into their wellness program for quite some time. It is the next big thing that can tremendously impact employee health and productivity and reduce healthcare costs.
Market Research Future reports the telehealth market is set to become an 867 billion-dollar industry by 2030.
Download our complete and comprehensive guide to corporate wellness programs to create an effective one for your workforce.
4 Reasons Why Telehealth Should Be a Part of Your Wellness Program
A few years ago, Springbuk CEO Rod Reasen said, "We're seeing more employers turn to wearables. This will provide participation and engagement data. And help move the needle on the effectiveness of wellness programs. It will also help lower health risk and improve health outcomes."
Many corporate wellness programs in America are now embracing telehealth. This is an outcome of employers realizing their efficiency to ensure employee health and productivity.
Here are the top benefits of making telehealth a part of your corporate wellness program.
1. Enhances Preventive Healthcare Strategies
With telehealth as a part of your wellness program, employees can actively monitor their health conditions. Features like activity trackers and mHealth applications allow them to log in their daily activity, heart rate, blood pressure, and dietary routines. These features show them tangible cause-and-effect relationships between their actions and consequences.
So, with access to health data, dietary requirements, etc., employees can always proactively prevent ill health. For instance, if they notice a lack in their nutritional requirements, they can consume better and healthier food.
Suggested reading: Try These 19 Easy Mediterranean Diet Snacks To Level Up Your Office Munchies
Vantage Fit is one such wellness app that promotes employee well-being and productivity. Its user-friendly interface allows employees and employers to keep track of their health information seamlessly. Here is one snippet of how Vantage Fit can level up the dietary routine of employees.
2. Immediate Access to Health Care
With telehealth and telemedicine services in place, your employees will no longer waste time waiting for a health care professional to attend to them.
On-demand patient care and virtual visits ensure that your employees can reach out to doctors in the least time possible.
This is incredibly helpful for remote workers. It is a must, especially in a post-COVID world, where social distancing has become the new normal.
3. Long Term Well-Being of Employees
Investing in telehealth can ensure the long-term well-being of employees. It allows the consumers, a.k.a. your employees, to have all the control over their health-related decisions. Being aware and in management leads to a genuine attempt from employees to stay active and healthy.
By combining telehealth services into their company wellness programs, most employers are witnessing-
- Enhanced employee health
- Engagement at work
4. Decrease in Health Care Costs
The staggering health care costs are a severe concern for all employers and organizations. This becomes a hassle if the company has senior employees and employees with chronic conditions. A functional and practical corporate wellness program can lead to a rapid decrease in health care costs.
Using telehealth has significantly lowered the health care costs for corporate companies. For instance, according to MDPI, telemedicine reduces the costs of doctor visits by 10 to 15 percent.
In the long run, organizations will save a lot of money, which would otherwise be spent on health care.
Some Impressive Statistics:
According to the American Hospital Association, 76% of hospitals in the United States connect with patients and practitioners with video and other technology.
According to the findings in the Journal of American Informatics Association, between March 2 and April 14, NYU Langone Health witnessed urgent virtual care visits increase by 683 percent, and nonurgent virtual care visits increase by 4,345 percent.
According to a study by American Well, telehealth visits from patients resolved their health concerns 84 percent of the time.
GlobalMed data reveals that 74 percent of millennials favor telehealth visits rather than in-person doctor exams.
McKinsey's data reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in $250 billion in virtual medicine.
To use this digital service, it is not mandatory for someone to have internet access. One can consult with a health professional via phone calls, which does not require any internet service per se.
Telehealth has been on the scene for quite a few years, even before the pandemic hit the face of the earth.
It is no longer smart to ignore the potential and convenience that telehealth, as a technology, brings to the forefront for employee health.
In a post-pandemic world, this digitized health care delivery service will strengthen its base in the corporate sector.
Thus, talking to your employees about their health concerns would be best. And accordingly integrate this service, addressing those concerns with your corporate wellness program.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What are important differences between telehealth and in-person care?
In the former, individuals avail of health care services via digital platforms such as phone calls and video calls.
In the latter, one can consult with a health professional face to face in person.
2. When did telehealth start?
The concept of telehealth first emerged sometime between 1924 and 1925 as an illustration of a doctor attending to a patient via a video call. Soon, this service saw its inception in the 1960s. Soon, the U.S. Health and Human Health Department, NASA, and Public Health Department began to work to make this idea a reality.
3. Is telehealth covered by insurance?
Most health insurance companies are known to cover telehealth services. But the answer may vary based on the insurance plan. Popular insurance companies that cover this service are :
Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
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