October 31, 2017
Navigating Telehealth for HR and Employers
by Robb Leigh
Telehealth can be used in workers' comp to treat employees with minor injuries or those who prefer self-care over in-person treatment.
Telemedicine can deliver faster, more accessible and more affordable medical care for patients across the world. However, when integrating a telehealth program into your business, there are some details that you should not overlook.
Let’s start with state regulations. Because they vary across the country, it’s important that employers be aware of the specific compliance regulations issued by their state.
Telehealth and Workers’ Compensation
Another important factor to take into account is workers’ compensation. While telehealth and workers’ compensation have existed for years singularly, thanks to the rapid evolution of technology they have recently come together under the same vertical. To ensure that you’re getting the specific advantages that the business needs, employers should educate themselves on the available options for integrating telehealth into workers’ compensation.
One option is to make it available to treat acute conditions. It could be particularly useful for employees with minor injuries or those who would rather seek self-care over in-person treatment.
Making telehealth available in cases where a clinic might not be immediately available is another option. In these cases, an employee might be at a remote location and may not have prompt access to healthcare. Telemedicine solves this dilemma by bringing the doctor to the patient. And should the injured employee require further care, telemedicine providers will refer the employee to specialists or ancillary services within their network for continuity of care.
Telehealth is the ideal platform to deliver healthcare to the injured employee if they meet the screening process. While all serious cases, emergency or otherwise, should be addressed in person by a physician or at an emergency room, there are far more minor cases that can be safely treated via telemedicine.
The Big Telehealth Picture
Many telehealth programs offer several direct benefits to the injured employee and the employer alike, including 24/7/365 availability, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, greater employee satisfaction and reduced unnecessary visits to urgent care facilities, which allows for further cost savings.
See also: Consumer-Friendly Healthcare Model
Whichever telehealth program an employer chooses, it’s a good idea to make sure the program has a strong communications plan to stay educated on benefits, onboarding and more. This often comes in the form of onsite education seminars, where employers and employees have direct access to the extended boutique health and wellness services.
And, of course, just like all healthcare benefits programs, it’s equally important to research the benefits, platform features and plan options available in any potential telemedicine services you subscribe to, as no two telehealth programs are exactly the same.