Latest Travis Rush News
May 18, 2021
By Travis Rush May 18, 2021, 9:00 a.m. EDT 4 Min Read REGISTER NOW The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that we can do more from home than we realized – especially when it comes to managing and improving our health. The future of telemedicine is particularly exciting. During the first quarter of 2020, the number of telehealth visits increased by 50%, and in September, virtual care was on track to account for 20% of all medical visits in the U.S., according to Doximity’s 2020 State of Telemedicine Report. But we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible with new technologies — including and beyond telehealth . Employee-centered health benefits, coupled with the use of tools such as remote monitoring devices, consumer wearables and home-based health diagnostic testing kits, hold immense potential. As we move ahead to a post-COVID care landscape, it’s time to start thinking about health benefits beyond virtual care – and consider what the workforce needs in the future. What the workforce wants While telehealth’s 2020 success story was driven out of a necessity for safe access to care, its staying power underscores another key benefit: convenience. The pandemic highlighted how strained many of our lives were pre-COVID – between long work commutes, hectic schedules and home life demands. In some parts of the country, finding a primary-care physician or a specialist proved challenging with the ongoing physician shortage. Many patients put off preventive care. Some with chronic conditions opted to skip treatments as well, leading to potentially worsened conditions and poor health. The transition-by-necessity to telehealth has benefitted many. In fact, more consumers now say they are interested in using telehealth to connect with physicians in the future, even after the pandemic wanes, according to survey data from Doctor.com. Notably, patients are asking for more of what they’re getting from telehealth: convenience and access to quality healthcare. This is especially true with millennials, who spend more on health and wellness than any other generation. Benefits including virtual care and at-home health diagnostic testing can put the patients in the driver’s seat of their care journey. Tools of health engagement As we move back to some degree of normalcy with the mass distribution of vaccines, employers also have a new opportunity to improve consumer health awareness, prevent disease and lower costs by focusing on the following areas: Personalized benefits. Every industry has its challenges, but health is the common denominator for every industry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six in 10 U.S. adults have at least one chronic disease. In rolling out new benefits, it’s important to take into account workers’ daily health struggles and life challenges — and develop solutions accordingly. Expanded telehealth options. Before the pandemic, many organizations offered telehealth benefits, but they were largely underutilized. With continuously evolving technology, telehealth can support a wider range of applications — from behavioral health care to interactions with specialists. Organizations may benefit from efforts to market, or build awareness, around telehealth benefits to drive enrollment. Wellness-centered solutions. A systematic review of 56 published studies of worksite health programs showed that well-implemented workplace health programs potentially lead to 25% in savings in several areas: absenteeism, healthcare, and workers’ compensation and disability management claims costs. Even small changes — e.g., bringing in a registered dietician, which isn’t always covered by a health plan, to help with healthy meal planning — can make a difference. Home-based health screening. So many solutions are available to consumers who want to monitor their health, such as smartwatches, which can track and transmit biometric data. Going beyond these devices are home based health testing kits, which enable consumers to test their blood sugar and cholesterol and assess their health at a more granular, health-conscious level. These are as convenient to use as smartwatches, and — like wearables — are accessible in spite of a patient’s location or schedule. Not only can tests reveal information and highlight concerning trends, but they let employees know that they are working for an organization that cares about their wellbeing, not just their output. There’s no time like the present to engage employees in their own healthcare by making health solutions easy and accessible. The more we can do in advance to prevent adverse events and disease by empowering consumers, the more we’ll save in healthcare costs — while ensuring our workforce remains happy, healthy and productive.