virtual health programs
Employee Benefits

Healthcare Gone Virtual

Jeff Kirke
Jeff Kirke
Vice President, Employee Benefits

Have you heard of telemedicine or virtual healthcare? If you haven’t, I think it’s time. In fact, I’d go so bold as to say the time is now for adoption and implementation of virtual health programs. Why? Because technology has finally caught up with our vision for the future. Consumer expectations are higher and demands for improved convenience and availability have increased.

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal specifically about this topic. While it had a ton of great information on virtual health services, one part stuck out to me. It’s this:

“Here are three areas where I think virtual health could improve the value of healthcare:  

  • OutcomesVirtual health led to a 15% reduction in length of patient stays, and improved the experience of chronically ill patients, and remote monitoring of patients once they leave the hospital can cut readmission rates. It is estimated that $7 billion a year (average of $126 per visit) would be saved if annual face-to-face doctor visits moved to virtual visits.
  • Access There are now about 200 telemedicine networks and 3,500 service sites in the U.S,, according to the American Telemedicine Association. Adoption of virtual health could extend the reach of physicians and other care providers, and improve convenience for patients. Getting into a car and driving to see a doctor can be a burden for patients. Improving convenience and keeping patients out of waiting rooms can translate to a better patient experience.
  • Adherence Virtual health can help improve medication adherence, health tracking, and patient accountability. It also can help patients better understand their treatment plans. Telehealth and remote monitoring can give physicians real-time insight into their patients’ health and medical data. For patients with chronic conditions, it can improve disease monitoring and alerts.”

Our clients are increasing the adoption of virtual technology and care options into employee benefit plans to combat the rising healthcare cost, and they’re not alone. According to the annual survey of the National Business Group on Health, the No. 1 goal for employers in 2020 is to implement more virtual care provisions. This includes behavioral health over video chat, digital coaching, condition management, and sleep therapies.

Is this something you’re interested in? Would you like to chat about what this kind of offering would mean to your employees? Please reach out. I’d love to chat with you about it!

Explore more from Holmes Murphy