Telemedicine White Paper
Telemedicine is one of the fastest growing industries in the healthcare field, and 90% of all healthcare executives say that their organization either has a telemedicine application or they are in the process of developing it. Telemedicine gives people the ability to talk to a licensed medical professional by video chat or over their phone.
The medical professional is able to have a consultation, diagnose the condition, and dispense the correct prescription to the patient’s pharmacy of choice. Whether you’ve vaguely heard of telemedicine or you’re in the process of implementing it yourself, this comprehensive buyer’s guide will give you the important criteria and questions to ask when you’re evaluating a telemedicine provider. At Medek, we want to ensure that you partner with a telemedicine provider that will give you excellent service for your employees and company.
Although there are hundreds of reasons to provide a telemedicine service to your employees of small business, we’ve picked out the biggest three. They include but are not limited to:
- Employers all over the world are quickly adopting a telemedicine service with 96% of employers planning on implementing telemedicine within the next year. This number is projected to continue to grow as telemedicine becomes legal in more states. Currently, 28 states and the District of Columbia require, by law, that public and private insurance entities cover telemedicine services at the same rate they cover face-to-face consultations.
Small business employers who get ahead of this wave and move beyond offering the expected benefits to start offering benefits that show their employees they care set themselves apart from other organizations. If an organization wants to recruit and attract the top talent, the time to incorporate telemedicine is right now.
- By offering a telemedicine benefit, your employees avoid expensive healthcare or health insurance claims as a result of unnecessary trips to urgent care/immediate care facilities, doctor’s offices, and/or emergency rooms (ERs). Employees who have high deductible plans can benefit from telemedicine services and put real money back into their pockets i.e. save cost health insurance.
Avoiding these types of unnecessary visits results in even larger savings opportunities for employers. You’ll see a reduced amount of overall claims and visits. In fact, these savings should be able to meet, or even exceed, the cost of implementing a telemedicine service as long as you implement the program correctly.
Along with allowing for excellent savings opportunities due to avoided office visits, employers experience more savings in the form of increased productivity. On average, a person will spend two to five hours traveling to the doctor’s office, ER, or urgent care clinic and waiting. When employees no longer have to spend two to five hours traveling and waiting for their healthcare services, they can focus this time on work.
- Telemedicine service gives employees and the employee’s families access to effective and safe healthcare conveniently online or by phone. An employer-provided telemedicine service gives employee’s families and the employees themselves more than simple convenient care. It gives them hours of their lives back to do as they wish. Since your employees now have convenient access to a physician online or by phone, they can avoid leaving work or home to get the medical help they need.
Employers – Easier to Implement
For an employer to effectively implement a telemedicine
system, it’s essential that they’re able to onboard their employees quickly and
effectively. Beyond this, it’s critical that the telemedicine provider and
the employers put several communication efforts in place to raise employee
awareness and generate usage. At the very minimum, it should involve sending
out several emails and flyers along with mailings that are tailored to the
employer. While there are dozens of telemedicine companies available, few offer
a customized engagement program like Medek. We help explain how, when, and why
you’d use the telemedicine service, instead of leaving it solely up to the
organization’s HR department.
Once onboarding completes, employers have to understand how successful they’ve been by how much the service gets used. The best way to accomplish this is by providing a web-based reporting service that gives the HR department up-to-date information. We also provide a full usage analysis to help our clients understand telemedicine’s benefit.
Employees – Easier to Use
Delivering a top client experience rests on the ability to
deliver a quality employee experience. Your telemedicine service has to give a
seamless user experience without a pre-registration process or any consultation
fees. Employees simply won’t use the service if there are barriers in
Connecting your employees to the telemedicine service has to be seamless because they handle consultations in several ways. The best practice you can implement is to use trained patient experience people to collect all of the pertinent information from the patient before the patient connects with the doctor. This should take five minutes or less.
Employers should only offer telemedicine if they allow their employees to connect with a doctor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Patients should be able to speak to a board-certified physician in under five minutes who is able to write a prescription if needed. By engaging your employees and explaining the why, how, and when of telemedicine services, you drive usage.
The utilization metric reflects the general usage levels of the telemedicine service that directly drives cost savings for the organization itself. On average, the industry utilizes 7% or less, and it’s one of the most popular metrics available. Ask your vendor to give you their average utilization rates across all of their clients. Low rates typically point to a flawed implementation. If people don’t use it, the employer won’t reach their return on investment (ROI).
The participation metric estimates the depth of the adoption rate of the telemedicine service throughout the organization. A wider range of use gives a higher value for both employees and employers. Industry averages span between 2% and 5%. Low utilization rates indicate a lower overall value. Participation is key to measuring performance, and you want your annual participation rates to be at least half of the amount of your utilization rate.
- No out of pocket payments for consultations or employees
- Easy, fast, and comfortable experience for end users
- Customized communication and engagement activities to generate awareness
- Completing consultations by using technology that is comfortable and familiar to the client
You should see a positive ROI when you implement a telemedicine service. ROI depends on how you calculate your cost savings and your overall utilization rates. It’s essential to have easy-to-understand savings calculations in place based on how many in-person consultation costs you avoid. You also want to pick a telemedicine service that won’t penalize you for high usage. If the cost increases with the utilization, you should only see a positive ROI. Look for a provider that is willing to share risks and one that provides a contracted guarantee from every trip avoided to clinics and ERs.
It’s essential to understand each cost directly associated with implementing telemedicine. This varies from provider to provider, so you have a few things you want to keep in mind. You should estimate the per consultation fees for your employees (up to $50 per visit). Ideally, you should only charge per-employee, per-month fees that range between $0.15 and $15. Avoid onboarding fees, campaign engagement charges, escalated fees for a higher consultation level, usage limits, and extra charges for longer consultations.
There should be doctors who have a license to practice in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia on-hand at all times. It’s up to the doctors to provide a quality patient experience ranging from timely processes to clinical decision making. This service level directly depends on how the telemedicine provider recruits, trains, and monitors their staff. They should contract directly with the telemedicine provider, not a third party. The provider has to be able to train and coach their doctors to provide care that falls in line with clinical and service protocols to ensure an excellent patient experience.
There are several things you can do to ensure that you’re successful with an internal buy-in for telemedicine services. They include:
- Share savings and ROI reports with your executives to show telemedicine’s value
- Ensure you have effective engagement and communication strategies for your employees so it’s not all on HR
- Introduce telemedicine outside of the normal benefit cycle to cut down on competition between the different benefits
The correct telemedicine provider can help an organization reduce their claim amount for costly and unnecessary healthcare services, reduce employee’s out-of-pocket expenses, improve productivity, and reduce hours missed as a result of going to and waiting for a doctor visit. Your telemedicine provider must:
- Demonstration a utilization rate of 30% or more
- Lead and design a customized communications campaign that generates employee awareness
- Provide period reports that summarize your employees’ utilization and how much the organization saves by using it
- Prioritize great client services and patient experiences
- Connect patients to board-certified doctors in five minutes or less
- Have a staff of doctors that are able to prescribe in all 50 states and the District of Columbia so you can cover your employees on their travels and at home
- Provide web-based electronic medical records that let your employees review consultation recordings, send their records, and add other information
- Guarantee that avoided visit savings can and will meet or exceed any fees your employees pay, and get it in writing
- Never have your employees make out-of-pocket payments
- Include communication, onboarding, and engagement in the per-employee, per-month fee
Medek provides comprehensive telemedicine services to employers and consumers through a nationwide network of board-certified physicians. We treat everyday health issues through our smartphone app, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Our physicians hold certifications and licenses in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia.
If you’d like to know more about our exclusive services, you can reach out and contact us! We’re happy to help and answer any questions you may have.