In several states, telehealth services are meeting and exceeding the necessary legal and medical requirements to treat patients. While many patients find the service convenient, especially on nights and weekends, employers have discovered that an in-office consultation room where employees can have a virtual checkup dramatically decreases time away from work and increases the use of preventive care. Is this a savvy investment for your business?
Benefits for Employers and Employees
In a smaller office, one employee calling in sick will affect everyone’s productivity, and if the flu hits the entire office, the company could see a slowdown in overall revenue. However, companies that offer a private health space are giving employees a chance to get thirty minutes of in-house care instead of taking an afternoon or full day away from work. Investing a minimal amount of money in space and technology will cut drastically into losses stemming from sick time.
This advantage helps you and your workforce. From the individual employee’s view, they may avoid helpful early treatment visits to the doctor simply because of the inconvenience it causes at work. That kind of short-term decision-making, however, can lead to a longer absence down the road if the illness in question becomes a critical problem. By making available an office-based health service, you’re cutting down on lost time and on employees’ tendency to avoid the care they need.
In-house treatment areas generally need the kind of privacy that only a closed-door room allows. Although you can offer employees a basic room for a Skype call, employers are working with video health services to equip these in-house rooms with easy-to-operate medical equipment. Thanks to advancements in technology, patients can utilize accurate blood-pressure monitors and body-temperature thermometers. These vital statistics then go through the telehealth system and directly to a doctor who’s ready to continue the consultation via video chat.
From the administrative end, telehealth services require that patients set up an account with relevant medical information for the consulting physician to access. Of course, patients can transfer these medical records to their primary-care physician for any in-person follow-up appointments. If the patient requires additional in-house appointments, their history will remain available to the next consulting doctor.
So Many Advantages
Although some states are reluctant to allow physicians to issue a prescription without a face-to-face appointment, most states that permit telehealth services also allow the video doctors to write any necessary prescriptions. Those prescriptions then go directly to the pharmacy closest to the office. So instead of employees taking a full day off to seek care and pick up a prescription, they can receive a comprehensive treatment within an hour.
For employees who don’t have health insurance (such as part-time employees), video health appointments are significantly less expensive than the cost of a traditional appointment. With many telehealth providers offering consultations at $50 or less, your employees will appreciate this time-saving and affordable option.
For employees with health insurance, many health providers are setting up special websites to make this kind of care work seamlessly with their current insurance plan. With insurance, virtual health services follow the same cost structure as a typical doctor’s appointment, with the insured paying a normal co-pay.
Introducing a telehealth service space into your office means significantly reducing employees’ time away from work. Not only do these services increase your company’s productivity, but they allow employees easy access to preventive treatments. Consult with your current insurance provider to find out how you can establish a virtual health space in your office.
Dylan Murray has an MBA from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Boston University. He is a licensed insurance agent in California, but he works as a professional researcher and writer reporting on business trends in estate law, insurance and private security. Dylan has worked as a script analyst with the Sundance Institute and the Scriptwriters Network in Los Angeles. He lives in San Diego, California, and Marseille, France.