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October 10, 2017

Navigating Telehealth for HR and Employers

Summary:

While all serious cases should be addressed in person, there are far more minor cases that can be safely treated via telemedicine.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

It’s no secret that telemedicine delivers faster, more accessible and more affordable medical care for patients across the world. However, when integrating a new telehealth program into your business, there are some details that employers 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. If an employer is in compliance with these state regs, the chosen telehealth provider will then help navigate the onboarding process and provide concierge support throughout the duration of the program.

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 they’re getting the specific advantages that their business needs, employers should educate themselves on the available options for integrating telehealth into workers’ compensation.

See also: Consumer-Friendly Healthcare Model  

One option for integrating telehealth into workers’ compensation 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 injured employees require further care, telemedicine providers will refer them to specialists or ancillary services within their network for continuity of care.

Telehealth is the ideal platform to deliver healthcare to injured employees 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 incidentally allows for further cost saving.

Whichever telehealth program employers choose, it’s a good idea for them to make sure they have 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.

See also: Case for Reimbursing for Telemedicine  

And, of course, as with 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.

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About the Author

Robb Leigh is an emergency physician and chief medical offficer for contemporary medical provider Akos. Dr. Leigh has 25 years of experience in the medical field.

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