Why Employers are Finding Telemedicine to be an Effective Solution
Imagine having a doctor on call, whenever and wherever you wanted. Thanks to telemedicine, this idea has become a reality. Pioneering technology is now allowing clinicians to reach patients at home, overseas, or at the office.
Telemedicine is generally defined as medical care provided to a patient from a physician at a remote location. Typically, telemedicine is used to provide care in rural or somewhat inaccessible areas. While the technology behind telemedicine has been around for a number of years, employers have recently begun to look at this new technology as an effective solution for providing quality care to employees at a remote location, without the full investment of an onsite health center.
Many large companies currently provide onsite clinics that house nurses and physicians at the actual company campus, but telemedicine stations present a similar option to employers who may have fewer employees or less physical space available. Telemedicine stations allow employees to virtually visit with a doctor and get an accurate diagnosis about their condition(s).
Employers welcome this new technology for its cost savings and increased access to care. Instead of waiting several days to see their primary care physician, employees can interact with a doctor in minutes. This means that small problems can be evaluated early on, before they get worse and become more dangerous and costly.
A recent survey by Towers Watson of companies with over a thousand employees showed that 22% of employers currently offer telemedicine to their workers.1 The results also showed that 68% of employers plan to offer this service in the future.2
While its application at the workplace is just beginning to take hold, many employees have embraced the practice. In a recent study, patients said they want a more effective treatment option that saves them time and money. Over 76% of customers have responded that they are comfortable communicating with doctors via telephone or computer.3
As technology continues to change the healthcare experience, more employers are looking at innovative ways to use these advancements to protect employees’ health. Telemedicine may soon be an easier option for employers looking to increase medical access to remote employees, while keeping costs manageable.