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More and more, public sector organizations are adding telemedicine providers as an alternative way to receive acute care for run-of-the mill illnesses like colds and flu. Why? Because telemedicine not only offers a unique way to make sure that your employees have access to timely, convenient health care, it can also lower utilization of higher cost care options like urgent care or even emergency room visits.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine or telehealth is a form of technology-based communication that allows a doctor/nurse practitioner and a patient to visit through a computer screen or smartphone instead of in person. During the virtual visit, a doctor/nurse practitioner can assess, diagnose, access electronic medical records, and prescribe treatment for non emergency medical conditions. Non emergency medical conditions may include cold, flu, urinary tract infection, sore throat, rash, allergies, cough, asthma, earaches, nausea, headaches, and fever. Some telemedicine services programs may also offer virtual counseling, psychiatry, or dermatology visits. Telemedicine can be a helpful supplement and even a temporary substitute for traditional medical care.
What are the benefits of adding telemedicine to your health insurance plan?
- Convenience – If your employees have access to a smart phone, computer, or tablet and an internet connection they can receive care instantly in the privacy of their home or workplace. Some telemedicine operations offer 24/7 access.
- Cost – Employees and employers save. A virtual visit is far less expensive than going to a doctor’s office, urgent care center, or emergency room.
- Higher Productivity, Reduced Absenteeism – It’s often difficult to take time off work to for a doctor’s appointment. A virtual visit is quick, easy, and can take just minutes. This helps keep productivity high and absenteeism low.
- Accessibility – For those who live in rural areas, there may be a lack of primary care doctors, specialists, and even medical facilities. Telemedicine eliminates the obstacle of distance and increases employees’ selection in medical services.
- Healthier Employees – Most people are likely to put off going to the doctor until the urgency outweighs the hassle. Sometimes this means conditions are not treated until they are more serious and costly. Telemedicine care is quick, easy, and convenient.
- Employee Retention – Having a robust benefits package is one way to retain and attract good employees. Adding telemedicine to the mix is just another way to show employees how important their health is.
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