Telehealth: Revolutionizing Modern Healthcare
Telemedicine soars in popularity post-pandemic
The COVID-19 health crisis has had a massive impact on our society, and has greatly altered our daily lives and customs. One positive post-pandemic change has been the increase in adoption of telemedicine in the delivery of healthcare.
Prior to the pandemic, adoption rates of telehealth were limited based on both patient and physician preferences. Patients were reluctant about the level of care and attention they would receive through a virtual visit, and physicians were skeptical about the quality of healthcare they would be able to provide without being able to physically diagnose patients. As a result, in 2019 only 11% of patients had used telehealth services in 2019.
However, with a forced shift to telehealth as the primary consultation method over most of 2020 and into 2021, patients and physicians alike realized that the quality of care provided virtually is equal to that of in-person consultations. And so, telehealth consultations have been adopted for everything from sore throats to sinus infections.
Benefits of telehealth
With the increased adoption of telehealth, the many benefits of virtual care became more apparent, including:
- Improved health outcomes from faster diagnosis
- Decreased wait times to access physicians
- Additional flexibility in scheduling
- No unnecessary trips to hospitals and clinics
- Access to physicians outside of normal business hours
- Ability to get a diagnosis, prescription and treatment in minutes
- Medical advice from anywhere, even if you are travelling
Leading telehealth platforms like Maple even have proprietary features, including comprehensive virtual health records for patients.
Impact on employers
Virtual care through telehealth services help maintain a safe and healthy workforce. In the past, having a doctor’s appointment required taking anywhere from several hours to a full day off, resulting in decreased productivity and absenteeism.
By allowing immediate access to doctors, telehealth enables reduced time away from the office, improves productivity, and reduces stress for employers and employees alike. In fact, over 65% of consultations with a telehealth provider prevent a workplace absence.
Why isn’t everyone using telehealth?
The current circumstances we’re experiencing have stressed the need for telemedicine. Physical distance and remote work mandates have made virtual care essential for businesses that want to protect the health and safety of their employees.
However, not all Telehealth providers and services are fully covered by provincial healthcare insurance. As a result, patients must pay the full consultation fee out of pocket.
Employers and plan administrators are able to include telehealth options which may subsidize the fees to existing employee benefit plans, enabling quicker, safer, and more accessible care, improved productivity and reduced absenteeism.
Interested in learning more?
Talk to one of our Benefit Strategies advisors today to discuss telehealth options for your workforce, and learn more about how to best provide employees with quick, effective care on their own terms.
- McKinsey: COVID-19 Consumer Survey