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COVID-19 has pushed all aspect of our lives online, including how we learn and work as well as how we celebrate weddings and happy hours. The same applies to how we interact with healthcare.
More Americans than ever are turning to telemedicine (also known as telehealth or virtual care) as a remedy for the health risks that are currently present in doctor’s offices and hospital emergency rooms. Its potential to increase care for physical and mental health needs is acknowledged by patients, physicians, regulators, and employers.
In 2022, there are 10 things every benefits professional needs to be aware of about telemedicine.
Safety is Vital: The pandemic is highlighting the need of telemedicine in ensuring people’s safety. If you stay away from areas where sick individuals congregate, you will be less likely to contract COVID-19.
Employees shouldn’t have to take a chance on exposure in order to receive care for a straightforward ear infection or poison ivy rash at their doctor’s office.
Growing Awareness: During COVID-19, more patients than ever are discovering the potential of telemedicine, yet some patients are unsure of how to use it. Driving usage requires clear communications from HR or the benefits provider.
Telemedicine consults increased by 86% between 2019 and 2020, according to Health Connect 24×7. However, despite the rise in COVID-19 consultations, ear, sinus, and urinary tract infections continue to be the most common ailments on patients’ minds.
In recent years, most telemedicine patients called a phone number to speak with a doctor; but, by 2020, 81 percent of individuals will own smartphones.
As a result, the majority of patients get healthcare through the Health Connect 24×7 website or mobile app.
Services Are Expanding: Both the volume and the scope of telemedicine have increased. A couple of the services that are currently offered by some providers or as an employee benefit from some businesses include at-home COVID-19 testing and prescription delivery.
Rules Are Decreasing: Federal amendments introduced by the CARES Act have an impact on how telemedicine services are delivered and paid for. The HIPAA rules governing telemedicine have been temporarily loosened, and several states have eliminated the requirements for physician licensure.
Firms are Increasing Coverage: Prior to COVID-19, the majority of employers provided full-time employees with access to telemedicine as part of their benefits package. However, due to the epidemic, almost half of companies have increased their healthcare benefits.
The importance of mental health is shown by the fact that, according to SHRM, nearly half of employees report feeling burned out during COVID-19 due to work-related issues. In these stressful times, the necessity for online mental health counselling is of the utmost importance.
Costs Play a Significant Role: When deciding on healthcare benefits for the upcoming year, cost savings are a consideration for 57% of companies surveyed by Health Connect 24×7 in 2022. Employers can save money by diverting healthcare expenditure away from more expensive options like the emergency room or urgent care centres and toward telemedicine.
Employees Must Be Happy: At the end of the day, telemedicine providers need to wow their clientele’s staff members. Healthcare is made possible via telemedicine, and like with other 21st-century technology, users expect quick response times and straightforward user interfaces. When workers have a good experience, they tell their friends, family, and coworkers about it.