Telemedicine offers tremendous opportunities to increase healthcare accessibility and savings — for both your company and your employees. But to realize the rewards of offering a telemedicine benefit, you need to get your employees engaged.
Telemedicine benefits see less than 10% engagement on average. To beat the average, you first need to understand how and why telemedicine works.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine companies connect patients with live medical professionals ranging from primary care doctors to specialists and mental health professionals via phone or computer to deliver non-emergency medical care. Some telemedicine companies specialize in one area of care while others cover a variety of topics.
Telemedicine is adopted as a component of health and wellness benefits packages, most often as a voluntary feature — meaning that while the employer is paying for the benefit, employees can choose whether they use it or not.
Why is telemedicine important for a health and wellness benefits package?
There are two common reasons why telemedicine is an important wellness benefit. It can help employees and employers save money, and it can increase access to preventive care.
The cost-effective nature of telemedicine comes from the fact that it can replace unnecessary ER visits. Almost 146 million emergency room visits were made in the last year. Additionally, 64% of regular flu diagnoses for millennials come from the ER when they could be made over the phone.
That’s a lot of time and money that your employees could save by using a benefit such as Teladoc or MDLive. But most importantly, employees enjoy using telemedicine — 93% of consumers who have tried out telemedicine say that it lowered their health care costs and they’re happy with the outcomes. This means that the benefits of telemedicine reach far beyond budgets — it can even change the culture and status of wellness at your company.
Why do telemedicine programs often lack engagement?
As discussed, telemedicine is a voluntary health benefit, meaning your employees have agency over when and how they use the benefit. This autonomy can also make it challenging for employees to remember they have access to the benefit and to build the habit of using the benefit when it's appropriate.
These trends are common among healthcare benefits, since (hopefully) it’s rare that an employee has a medical need, and visits to primary care doctors normally only happen once a year. For example, Mercer's 2018 national survey revealed that 71% of companies offer a telemedicine benefit to help employees save time and money on basic care, however, on average it only gets about 7% engagement.
Even with a low percent of engagement a 2016 survey funded by the NIH, which analyzed responses from 3,000 patients treated via telemedicine at CVS Minute Clinic, concluded that between 94% and 99% were “very satisfied” with telemedicine.
Of patients who use telemedicine, success rates are high. The issue lies in bridging the gap between employees and access to their telemedicine benefit. As it is most often offered as a stand alone benefit, telemedicine’s physical separation from your benefits platform excludes it from regular usage and faltering engagement rates.
How can you get employees excited about using telemedicine?
The most important step towards increased engagement is ensuring your telemedicine benefit is easy to use, accessible, and communicated at the right place, at the right time.
There are a variety of ways you can do this, but one strategy is particularly effective. Incorporating benefits as a part of a bundled platform sees 81% satisfaction from employees. Look for a platform that can surface your telemedicine benefit at the moment your employees are searching for care. Amino, for example, pulls your telemedicine benefit into search results when employees search for eligible terms. Highlighting the right benefit, at the right time for the right employees will boost engagement and increase employee satisfaction.
Learn more about Amino
Interested in learning about how Amino increases telemedicine engagement? To get a free demo, click here.