Telehealth has risen in popularity during the pandemic, but what makes this remote-based health care option equipped to help employees face their concerns?
From obesity to cardiovascular disease, there was no shortage of health concerns pre-pandemic. Now with more than 1 million deaths reported since the start of the pandemic, it’s further complicated nearly every other health issue. Although none hit quite as hard as COVID-19, some of the top health issues that plagued the United States in 2022 included food insecurity, mental health and social isolation, health complications relating to vaping, and the opioid crisis to name a few.
While many of these concerns continue to carry over into 2023, the country is also seeing increasing numbers of cardiovascular disease, HIV, substance abuse, and cancer diagnoses.
Sounds concerning, right? You’re not alone in thinking so. The good news is that despite all the pandemic's adverse effects, one positive change resulted. The rise of telehealth!
With the latest technology and the widespread adoption of telehealth services, employees have never been more empowered to see their provider, actively manage their health, and even make lifestyle changes to prevent chronic conditions all while choosing an affordable option.
What is telehealth and what role does it play in addressing top health issues?
Since 2020, telehealth has been all the rage, but despite having made major strides due to the practical necessity during the pandemic, telehealth is not a new concept.
Dating back to 1925, inventors like Hugo Gernsback conceptualized telehealth through the “Teledactyl” device that would allow doctors to see patients through a video screen. Despite his device never coming to fruition, Gernsback paved the way for modern telehealth to become a reality.
Fast forward to 2019, only 1% of all total visits with a physician were through telehealth. But this all changed during the pandemic, with 21% of total visits in 2021 being through telehealth according to a recent report.
Why did telehealth get so popular so quickly?
Although the answer can be attributed to several reasons, the main reason for telehealth’s sudden rise was to keep patients and health care providers safe during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.
While the long-term future of telehealth is still somewhat uncertain, it’s looking bright right now as legislation recently extended the eligibility of this benefit for high deductible health plans.
Some of the ways that telehealth is helping employees manage their most concerning health issues include:
- Making health care more accessible for remote communities throughout the country
- Keeping employees and providers safe from infectious diseases
- Improving convenience of getting help quickly from home
- Enhancing accessibility for employees that have limited mobility or transportation
- Reducing health care costs for employers and employees
Since the widespread use of telehealth solutions is still relatively new, many advancements are expected over the next few years.
What are the perks of incorporating telehealth into employee benefits packages?
With telehealth on the rise, many employees will be looking to their employers for ways to access this remote-based care. For employers that haven’t taken the plunge into telehealth, here are some of the top reasons why to consider adding telehealth to your offering:
- Diversify provider and care options
- Create a more competitive benefits package
- Enhance productivity by reducing time for employees commuting to appointments
- Help reduce employer health care costs with in-person visits on an as needed basis
While these are just a few reasons employers should consider adding telehealth services to their benefits package, Businessolver is here to help.
Want to dive deeper into the changing landscape of telehealth? Check out this resource from our Pinnacle Partner™ Sword Health.