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Telehealth Education: Good for Employees’ Health

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how useful telehealth services can be, employers may wish to encourage employees to try this money-and time-saving option.

In general, telemedicine focuses on using video over devices such as laptops or mobile phones to access medical help remotely. Telehealth, specifically, uses video access to provide health-related education services like diabetes management or nutrition courses.

Popular telehealth calls range from consultations about rashes or the flu to mental health counseling and ear infections. Providers are empowered to prescribe medications when medically necessary for minor conditions, including sinus or urinary tract infections, bronchitis, flu or ear infections.

While immediate access is its primary benefit, telehealth can be a money saver for patient and employer. For patients, the cost of a telehealth visit can be as little as $40 or in some cases, no cost at all. That’s a huge savings considering an average doctor visit can be $130 to $190 and a typical ER visit can be $1,500 to $3,000. Employers benefit because the lower patient costs are, the lower overall health plan costs will be.

Despite its advantages, many people don’t use telehealth because they are accustomed to or happy with making personal visits to their doctor. They may also be unsure about how to use telehealth.

To promote telehealth, employers should schedule workshops to provide an overview of how telehealth works.

TIP: Encourage would-be telehealth participants to sign up well before using the service. Though it usually only takes about 10 minutes, someone who waits to sign up when they call may not be feeling well enough to deal with completing the questionnaire at that time.