While telehealth has been slowly growing in popularity over the past few years, it is officially time for brokers to start paying more attention to this new model of care. Modern life is increasingly happening online, and health care delivery is no exception. You may say that your clients already have telehealth – it’s embedded in their health insurance plan. But here’s my question to you: how much is it being utilized?
If the answer is “not much” or “I don’t know”, that is a sign that you have an opportunity to improve your clients’ telehealth. Here’s why you should be paying more attention to virtual visits:
Telehealth positions you as innovative
All signs point to telehealth’s growth. The latest research shows that 77% of Americans own a smartphone, 73% own a computer, and 53% own a tablet. As access and comfort with digital communication continue to improve, demand for virtual health services will grow.
Also, the entire industry is facing immense pressure to lower costs and improve access. Telehealth is an easy, effective way to do that.
Since telehealth’s upward trajectory is inevitable, you want to be educating and offering these solutions to your clients now, so you can stay ahead of the trends. No one wants their clients coming to them, asking about telehealth and why they don’t have it.
However, you cannot insert just any telehealth solution into your clients’ benefit packages. You need to understand the value of the solutions, be able to compare competitor’s offerings, and choose which solution fits your clients’ needs best.
Telehealth helps your clients
Telehealth isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a proven solution that adds true value for both the employees who use the solution and the employer who provides it.
For employers, a telehealth solution can:
- Lower health care costs (for self-funded employers)
- Reduce medical absenteeism and presenteeism
- Increase employee satisfaction with their benefits package
- Increase employee productivity
For the employees, telehealth helps them by:
Reducing costs for care
- Reducing time needed for doctor’s appointments
- Reducing logistical and financial stress due to illnesses
- Improving access to specialists, such as nutritionists, therapists, and more (available with some telehealth solutions)
Studies have shown that the quality of care for many common conditions is equivalent for virtual versus in-person visits. And patient satisfaction when they use telehealth is consistently high.
Telehealth is a low-cost way for employers to add a meaningful benefit. In the current environment, where every benefits dollar needs to be well spent, telehealth is a solution that delivers instant value.
Telehealth doesn’t have to be burdensome
One of the biggest objections to telehealth is a reluctance to add additional work for either the employer or the broker. Unfortunately, simply making telehealth available for employees to use does not make it successful. Employees need to be educated on the benefit and made aware of how, when, and why to use the solution.
But brokers and employers are busy with other aspects of health care. They do not have time to do the work necessary for a telehealth solution to be successful. But telehealth does not have to be a burden.
The key is choosing a provider that does most of the work for you. You need a partner that holds itself accountable to its performance. These providers will do most of the heavy lifting for you and your clients. It will not be your or your clients’ HR team’s responsibility to craft employee communications or sign up employees.
These providers might not be the lowest cost – but by shifting the work to the provider, the solution will actually gain traction with employees. Telehealth providers are the experts on their own solutions, so let them handle the work of implementation, on-boarding, communication, and engagement.
Telehealth is coming – are you ready?
Don’t let your clients miss out on the benefits of telehealth. It’s time to get educated on the solutions, so you can bring the best ideas to the table. Your clients, and their employees, will thank you.