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Employee Benefits

Is Hybrid Healthcare a Success or a Failure?

Leia Spoor
Leia Spoor
Clinical Director, Employee Benefits

Hybrid. I think this should win “word of the year” for 2022. People and employers are using this word in almost every meeting and conversation about the workplace in general, as we’re all still trying to navigate workplace culture. Now, we’re also using this word when talking about healthcare.

Healthcare is no stranger to a mix of hybrid methods of delivery. It has had home healthcare, telemedicine, and remote monitoring for years. What is now being brought to the forefront is:

  • How much of healthcare really can be delivered in a virtual setting?
  • When does it make sense to lean heavily on a hybrid model of providing care remotely versus providing care in-person?
  • What services really have to be cared for in a provider’s office?
  • How often do we really need to see a provider face-to-face?
  • Can quality healthcare still be provided from afar?
  • What will the consumer demand be to offer a remote care service?

Testing the Boundaries of Telemedicine

I recently tested out telemedicine with my own primary care provider. I had an unwanted neck pain (probably due to an abundance of Zoom meetings), and I had done all I could on my own to try and manage. I purposefully scheduled a virtual visit with my provider as it was more convenient for me AND easier to get into an appointment time.

When I joined the virtual visit, the first thing the nurse asked was what my temperature and blood pressure were. I know I looked confused when I said, “do you want me to just guess?”

She asked, “so you don’t have a blood pressure machine at home, do you?”

I replied, “no.”

And, she said, “OK, we’ll just skip it.”

Next up was the conversation with my doctor who quickly stated, “I can’t really do anything without seeing you in person, so take some Aleve, ice it and come back to see me in person in 2 weeks.” In my opinion, telemedicine failed!

But, I wasn’t giving up on telemedicine and had another opportunity to test this out. This time for mental health support. I went online, found a provider I felt resonated with me and my needs, and scheduled an online visit within 48 hours. I joined the visit, talked for 45 minutes, and had one of the most productive provider visits I’ve ever had. In my opinion, telemedicine succeeded!

I share these examples to highlight a few of things:

  1. I anticipate hybrid healthcare delivery becoming (or staying) the norm. We’ve witnessed this in our data from our CLUE (Clinical Learning and Understanding Engine) reports at Holmes Murphy.
  2. There has been an influx of vendors adding Virtual Primary & Behavioral Care to their services. I anticipate a continued growth in this area as we see consumers (like me) demanding more remote visits.
  3. I recommend that employers review their data and determine how, where, and when their employees are accessing healthcare. I anticipate a continued need to expand these types of services to provide a benefit that will support the whole person.

If you need help understanding your population, the various vendors, and how to incorporate hybrid healthcare into your workplace, feel free to reach out to us! We have our clinical team ready to help you!

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