Is boosting telehealth adoption in your company a priority? Wait, you might be saying. We offer it. And if we have it, it we have it, right?
Well, it’s not that simple. Times are changing rapidly for telehealth. You probably already know telemedicine is having a boom year, but did you know it’s already starting to affect the way employees view companies? The perception of telehealth is skyrocketing after a slow beginning. Getting your teams onboard now can save your company money, improve your employees’ healthcare, and boost your attractiveness to new recruits. Let’s dig in to why, and how, you need to get your employees on the telehealth train.
Telehealth is an Important Perk in 2020 and Beyond
Less than a year ago, a survey found only 8% of employees at large companies were signed up for telehealth programs. This year, it’s being regarded as a major perk. One small business, Bowen Center, told Employee Benefit News that copay-free telehealth has helped their mental health center attract and retain talent. More than 70% of their employees use their telehealth provider.
Telehealth Saves Everyone Money
That’s right, everyone. Because telehealth is available after-hours and on weekends, and because appointments are generally available same-day, a quick virtual chat with a doctor can replace emergency room and urgent care visits. Your company’s healthcare costs stand to benefit if workers can avoid those expensive in-person visits.
So, you know telehealth is good for employees and good for employers. How do you get your team to sign on?
How to Communicate Telehealth’s Advantages
Saving money is a good start. Staying out of doctor’s offices is an excellent next step. Before the pandemic, most reasons for using telehealth were related to saving time and money. Now, many Americans are actively avoiding healthcare facilities. Doctor’s offices, hospitals, urgent care: people see the potential of contagion from COVID-19 in these places, and delay seeking medical treatment for minor complaints. But putting off treatment for that sinus infection could lead to bigger issues down the road. Telehealth fills that gap, providing medical advice without the stress of visiting the doctor during a pandemic.
Convenience, money-saving, extended hours, weekend care, and the reduced exposure to possible viral infection: these are all easy to sell to the average employee, especially your Gen X, millennial, and Gen Z team members. Traditionally early adopters of tech, some of them might know more about your telehealth benefit than you do!
Is there a skeptic in the house? Older employees tend to be skeptical of adopting new technology — especially when it comes to healthcare. You can address their concerns by reminding them that telehealth is practiced by licensed physicians, offering the same level of care they offer their in-office patients.
Then, remind them of the potential for big spending, long waits, and potential contagion at the emergency room. An appeal to the pocketbook and a little help installing the app might be all the momentum they need to get started with telehealth.
Addressing Costs of Telehealth
What’s your copay for telehealth? And how does that look for everyone in your company? While a busy manager or director might drop forty dollars on a ten-minute phone call in lieu of an office visit and call it a bargain, lower-wage employees might not see the value.
Some companies have seen good results by waiving or subsidizing the copays on telehealth. Others have waived fees through the end of 2020 to help get the ball rolling on their program. Generally, employees only have to use telehealth once to see the value in the program.
Make Telehealth Easy to Adopt
Your telehealth provider probably has online and printed collateral you can share with your employees. They’ll appreciate a communication with easy-to-understand instructions on downloading apps and setting up an account ahead of time. Emphasize that setting up a telehealth account before someone is sick makes it extremely convenient and easy to use when symptoms strike.
If you have an on-site workforce, ask your managers to add telehealth awareness to their daily or weekly staff meetings, and offer help to those who aren’t tech-savvy.
Prioritizing the adoption of telehealth services within your company will pay off in the long run. The reduced cost of healthcare, thanks to lower ER and urgent care visits, along with the expansion of access for your employees, means that everyone wins with telehealth. Plus, as more and more doctors sign on to the service, employees who have a rapport with specific physicians may even find their provider is available for a video chat or phone call.
Are you effectively communicating and sharing the benefits of telehealth with your teams? If there are gaps in your benefits comms, let WBD help! Contact us to learn about tools which can make spreading the word about company benefits a breeze.