Companies have lots of choices these days when it comes to reducing healthcare costs. Onsite clinics, and onsite kiosks, offer on-demand and immediate care to employees at work. Several large employers, including the Palm Beach County School District, Jet Blue Airways and the municipality of Kansas City, Mo., have installed telemedicine kiosks at their work sites to spare employees a trip to the doctor’s office--saving themselves--and their employers, money in the process.
While telemedicine kiosks may seem like a great way to provide care to employees when and where they need it by giving employees an alternative to leaving work to see a doctor, employers should consider these three factors prior to making a purchase decision:
COST: While kiosks that provide physician visits via telemedicine are less expensive than onsite clinics, kiosks still cost up to $60,000+ per unit. Additionally, they often need some explanation or training to use, which must be completed by HR.
UTILIZATION: As prospective patients, employees must be made comfortable in a healthcare facility at work, not to mention trust that they will have the same level of privacy afforded them at the familiar off-site setting of their primary care physician or urgent care center. And with kiosks only available during business hours much like onsite clinics, the ability to access the kiosk is limited. Additionally, employees will still need to leave work should they need a pharmacy. Finally, do you really want your sick employees coming to work just to use a telemedicine kiosk?
SAVINGS: This is the ultimate driver behind trying a new method of healthcare delivery. But savings are generated by the number of claims avoided, and thus are only high if utilization is high. A kiosk is, right out of the box, limited not just in terms of what it can do and how often it is open but how many people in an employee’s family plan can even use it. These limitations have a direct impact on the savings that can be generated by them.
TelaCare offers a better way to divert healthcare claims, make employees more productive, and of course make them happy.
Successfully implemented telemedicine solutions’ cost should actually be negative because a telemedicine solution implemented correctly should generate enough savings from avoided in-person physician visits to more than offsets the cost of the benefit. If a client is not generating a positive return on their investment with a telemedicine benefit, they have chosen the wrong telemedicine partner.
In order for any benefit to drive savings, it has to be used. At TelaCare, we average a 35+% utilization rate; that’s six times higher than the industry average and four times higher than our next closest competitor. We accomplish this by educating and training employees on how, when and why to use their telemedicine benefit, removing this burden from the HR department. It’s a benefit the whole family can use, and we tailor our year-long training and education campaigns to each company.
Our best-in-class client service not only increases engagement, but also results in direct and indirect savings. The more people who use the service, the more savings are generated in diverted medical claims and co-pays for both employers and employees. For self-insured companies, every time an employee avoids a visit to a physician, urgent care center or an ER, savings are generated.