It's that time of year every employer dreads - flu season! It's an inevitable fact that folks around the office will get sick and have to take time off of work, losing valuable productivity time for the company. But just how big of an issue are employee sick days and what is the overall impact it can have on an employer?
In 2015, workers in the United States took off an average of 4.9 sick days. That doesn't seem like too big of a problem until you consider that number applied to, say, a company of 1,000 employees. Now we're looking at almost 5,000 missed days of work!
How much does this affect employers? According to Bruce Japsen of Forbes magazine, the Integrated Benefits Institute's research found that poor employee health costs the American economy almost $576 billion a year. Sure, people get sick. That's a part of life, but what as an employer can you do to prevent lost productivity and make sure you get your employees healthier faster?
The best offense is a good defense, and it all starts with prevention. By preventing sickness, we need less time to worry about fixing it. How can you do this? Make it a point for employees to keep those hands clean. Frequent hand washing can reduce the spread of respiratory infections by 20%. Also, make sure they stay on top of getting their annual flu shot. The flu shot prevents 50-60% of flu infections a year, according to the Center for Disease Control. While not always guaranteed preventive, the flu shot does make for less extreme symptoms should that person contract the flu.
Telemedicine is the fastest and most efficient method for treating minor health issues that may arise, since employees can talk with a physician over the phone in a matter of minutes, one who will be able to provide a diagnosis and prescription. All of this is available round the clock, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, no matter what the time of year.
Now, as an employer looking into telemedicine providers, you need something reliable and affordable for your employees, so there are many important factors to consider. One of which is whether or not the telemedicine service is embedded in a major medical policy. While it may seem easier to embed in a health plan, many patients sadly never use their benefits due to a lack of information and communication from the provider on how to even use them.
So, how does a patient access telemedicine? Creating a wall of required usernames, passwords, or apps to log onto will only decrease patient utilization. While these might seem like solutions, employees typically won''t feel the need to download an app when they are healthy, and the extra effort may be too much once already sick. The safest option is to go with a telemedicine service that is all-access and has the option to simply call a number to be able to request a consultation with a doctor.
The healthcare system is notorious for not being user friendly. With telemedicine services, our first goal is educating the patient of the most efficient ways to seek their medical treatment so that they will know how to use their benefits. That way, there's no digging around for that lost piece of mail with the phone number they forgot they needed.
Your goal is to have your employees miss as little work or get back to work as soon as possible, so knowing how to treat an illness is essential in recovery. From understanding prescription antibiotics for bacterial infections to knowing which ones won't work for viral infections is key. Did you know that there are some over the counter medications that actually complement certain medications and speed up recovery time? Our expert telemedicine doctors will properly evaluate your employee's situation, advising them on all the details of how long they are expected to be contagious to ensure the prevention of spreading illness to other co-workers. They will deduce whether or not there is a need for an in-person medical evaluation or emergency care and guide them to their most beneficial assistance. All of this to ensure employee health, safety, and company productivity.
Employee sick days can cost a company money and invaluable loss of time - but only if you don't take the proper steps to preventing them. Traditional healthcare, such as urgent care units and doctor visits, adds to the drainage of time of resources, and isn't always necessary for certain bouts of non life-threatening sicknesses.
That's where the TelaCare telemedicine benefit comes in as a solution, turning those average 4.9 sick days into a mere few short hours. There's no reason why the modern workplace can't see a reduction in loss of work time and company productivity, which is why TelaCare is revolutionary in fast and efficient service, zero copay and out of pocket expenses, and the best professional medical care we can provide. All of this, backed by our commitment to educating your workforce on how to take care of both themselves and their TelaCare benefits, is guaranteed to provide a maximal positive return for both the employee and the employer. After all, a happy employee is a productive employee!