How to Increase Engagement in Workplace Telemedicine Programs
Taking time out of your day to visit a doctor isn’t always easy, which is one reason telehealth can be so beneficial: it offers fast, easy access to an array of qualified healthcare professionals from the comfort of your own home.
Telemedicine is a subset of telehealth. It provides remote health care services through the use of various technologies. Despite offering the same level of convenience, it often sees far lower engagement rates among employees. In fact, according to Mercer, only 9% of employees at large companies sign up for telemedicine. So, how do you get people to use it?
In this article, we’ll go into what telemedicine is, how it supports employee health and most importantly, how to increase employee engagement in workplace telemedicine programs.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is different from telehealth, which is broader in scope. Rather than focusing on the whole spectrum of health services, telemedicine solely provides clinical services and education. Like telehealth, it does this remotely through the use of technology, including videoconferencing tools and the telephone.
Why is Telemedicine Employee Engagement So Low?
Despite the huge personal benefits, many employees just aren’t using the resources available to them.
In many cases, employees may simply not know the full extent of their benefits. When scanning a document listing all healthcare services, they may bypass telemedicine and instead focus on things they need right now, such as medication coverage.
They also don’t necessarily remember it in their time of need. When they do find themselves with a sore knee months later, they’re unlikely to remember a service they didn’t pay much attention to in the first place.
People may hesitate to adopt new technology. There may be a reluctance to use the service for those who have never used anything like it before: in an emergency, or when stress levels are high, we tend to turn to what’s familiar to us, even if it’s more complicated than the alternative.
Other issues, including a lack of in-person interaction, and an inability to read body language rank high on the list of telemedicine concerns, according to a survey by Software Advice.
Telemedicine Concerns Include:
Fortunately, all these issues can be addressed with the right approach.
“The definition of a ‘face-to-face interaction’ is going to change. Once they see how easily it is done, and how they can still have a conversation with a doctor and how their questions can be solved in this manner, I think that’s going to ease a lot of their concerns about missing a face-to-face consult,” suggests Eric Wicklund, editor at mHealthNews.
“If people got used to [videoconferencing], there could be a significant benefit to being with family members while receiving a diagnosis and not being in a clinical environment,” adds Matthew Gardner, a research designer at the Mayo Clinic.
What Are the Benefits of Telemedicine?
Peace of Mind
Hands up: who’s ever researched their symptoms online, only to jump to the worst-case scenario? Many of us are guilty of this and there’s nothing quite like the panic that ensues. In some cases, that worry can seriously impact your mood, focus, and ability to work properly, especially if there’s a long wait between that internet search and seeing a doctor.
With telemedicine services, employees can enjoy peace of mind sooner and a prompt answer from a professional sets minds at ease.
It’s also useful for providing employees with another medical opinion, which is helpful when quelling anxiety and confirming health choices. The quicker these issues are resolved, the faster the employee can get back to work.
Going to the doctor, whether for yourself or other family members, is time-consuming. There’s driving there and back, waiting to see the doctor, the consultation itself, driving to the pharmacy… It’s half a day, at least. Then there’s the anxiety and danger that comes from sitting in a waiting room, surrounded by other sick people.
The previously cited Software Advice survey revealed that not having to travel was among the most popular aspects of telemedicine, according to a group of patients who had recently used it.
Popular Aspects of Telemedicine Include:
When it comes to health issues, sooner is always better. With telehealth and telemedicine, treatment is usually faster. Catching issues early also results in cheaper and less time-consuming resolutions—which is good news for employees and the organization.
Telemedicine can ease the financial burden when high-deductible health plans (HDHPs/HSAs) are implemented. This can help individuals get more out of their healthcare resources, which, in turn, should help them seek the care they need.
How Can You Increase Engagement in Workplace Telemedicine Programs?
The more employees that use the resources available to them, the bigger your return on investment. It’s therefore in your best interest to promote engagement. You’ll also gain indirect savings that come from having a healthier workforce that feels more cared for. Here are our top tips for getting everyone on board:
Communicate the benefits of telemedicine to your employees. When telling them about their telehealth program, highlight telemedicine in particular, and explain exactly what it means. Then, offer them the opportunity to ask follow-up questions.
To quell employees’ concerns about quality of care, emphasize the quality of your chosen provider, communicate the qualifications of doctors they may encounter, and use user testimonials. The more information you can provide, the more employees will be likely to engage.
Choose the Right Provider
Not all telemedicine providers are created equal, so shop around. Choose a company that makes it easy for your employees to use the service. This could include coaching, easy and accessible user interfaces that work across mobile devices, computers and tablets, video content, and a digital behavior change program that allows participants to set health goals and engage through a points system. The easier it is to use, the more likely your employees will embrace it.
Telemedicine can be a massive benefit to both the company and employees—but only if people are using it. To find out more about telemedicine and how it can benefit your organization, contact us today.
About CoreHealth Technologies
CoreHealth Technologies Inc. is a total well-being technology company trusted by global providers to power their health and wellness programs. Our wellness portals help maximize health, engagement and productivity for 3+ million employees worldwide. We believe people are the driving force of organizations and supporting them to make behavior changes to improve employee health is in everyone’s best interest. With the most flexibility, customizations and integrations of any software in its class, CoreHealth’s all-in-one wellness platform helps grow great wellness companies. Simple to sophisticated, based on you. For more information, visit the CoreHealth website or YouTube Channel.
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Your Friends in Health at CoreHealth
CoreHealth by Carebook's Health and Wellness Team works hard to bring our readers informative and research validate health and well-being blog articles and resources that support your workplace wellness culture and wellness technology purchase decision.