Telemedicine is the Next Big Thing in the Workplace

December 14, 2018 | Healthcare in Iowa Jordan Nickerson, Attorney, BrownWinick,

Q: Why am I hearing more about telemedicine? And how does it impact my company?

A: As we approach the holiday season, we also unfortunately approach cold and flu season. We’ve all been there: it’s Sunday night and you begin to feel the dreaded combination of a cough, sore throat and stuffy nose. You wake up the following morning with worsened symptoms, but you force yourself out of bed. You have an important client meeting at 9, a major call at 11 and thekids need to be picked up from school at 3. With countless items already on your to-dolist , you know you simply won’t have time to schedule a doctor’s appointment. Wouldn’t it be nice if your employer offered a telemedicine program as part of its benefits package?

Telemedicine, in short, is the remote delivery of healthcare and other clinical services using telecommunications and modern technology to a patient in their home or at their workplace. Historically, the practice was reserved for providing treatment to individuals located in rural areas with a shortage of medical professionals or healthcare facilities. However, changes in the law and healthcare market have led many providers to expand their services to a broader range of customers, including employers and their workforces.

Telemedicine can bring many advantages to your company. It can reduce the cost of healthcare benefits and out-of-pocket copays, reduce absenteeism by reducing in-person doctor’s appointments and other sick days, increase productivity by keeping your workforce healthy, and foster increased employee engagement that boosts morale. Indeed, it was predicted that a large majority of all major employers would be offering some sort of telemedicine services to their employees in 2018.

As you work through your health benefits and renewal paperwork for the coming year, it is worth considering whether telemedicine should be a part of your health benefits package. Telemedicine isn’t just the next big thing in healthcare. It’s the next big thing in the workplace as well.