Technological advances over the last few decades have given way to a significant rise in the use of telemedicine services. Video conferencing and smart phones allow more people access to healthcare anywhere, anytime. Driving telemedicine utilization is what will result is maximum ROI for employers.
Telemedicine is a valuable service that can save patients and the healthcare system substantially. Driving telemedicine utilization is key. If your employees do not know about the service and how it works…they won’t use it.
Telemedicine: Growing in Popularity
Several research studies have estimated that the telemedicine market is growing at a rate of 18 to 30% each year. Ken Research shows that in 2013 the telemedicine generated approximately $9.6 Billion in revenue, a 60% growth from $6 Billion in 2012. It is estimated that by 2018 telemedicine will be generating about $38.5 Billion annually. That would be a growth rate of 32% from 2013 to 2018.
One thing that has contributed to the growth of telemedicine is its growing popularity with employers. A 2014 Towers Watson survey showed that 37% of employers surveyed said by benefit year 2015 they expect to offer employees a telemedicine benefit. That is a 68% increase from 2014 when only 22% of employers offered a telemedicine benefit. Another 34% said they were considering telemedicine for the 2016 / 2017 benefit year.
Driving Telemedicine Utilization: Maximizing the value of telemedicine
Telemedicine is a valuable benefit that can save an organization and its employees significantly, but only if it is utilized. Driving telemedicine utilization is something that most companies don’t invest enough into from the initial benefit launch. Ongoing education about the telemedicine benefit is key. What does it treat? How can it be accessed? These are simple questions to answer and yet in most cases there is not much effort put towards providing this information. Most telemedicine companies have educational and marketing pieces already developed, and can make them available to the employer at little or no cost. Something as simple as an email once a month to employees would dramatically increase utilization of the telemedicine benefit.
The Differentiating Factor: AllyHealth Account Management
The thing that differentiates AllyHealth from other telemedicine companies is our commitment to our clients after the sale. We have a defined and proven plan for driving telemedicine utilization. A dedicated Account Manager to direct questions to, a variety of marketing pieces that we provide to new clients when they sign on, and reporting to show our clients the return on their investment.
Proven Results: How one company increased their member activation rate by over 25% in 2 days
One company partnered with AllyHealth to offer their 300 employees in 5 offices telemedicine as part of their benefits package. After the initial roll out, the AllyHealth account manager assigned to this group sent a package to the general administrator in their human resources group. Included were flyers, posters for their break rooms, magnets to give to their employees, and a educational piece to insert into payroll envelopes. These materials all had information on the telemedicine benefit and how and when to use it.
In January the group launched, and by May there were only 11 employees that had registered their account to activate their telemedicine benefit. With less than a 4% activation rate it did not look good for high utilization. The AllyHealth account manager decided to take another approach. The account manager learned that the employer was holding a biometric screening for their employees over the course of two days. She decide to attend in person and help employees activate their accounts in person.
The results were astonishing. After just 2 days, 86 additional employees had activated their accounts. The activation rate jumped from less than 4% to over 30%. What the account manager learned was that the general administrator had not distributed any of the material provided to the employees. The posters were not put in the break rooms either. The majority of employees that attended the screening, and spoke with the account manager, did not know how the telemedicine service worked. Some did not even realize the service was available to them. We know that utilization drives ROI, but what is driving telemedicine utilization?
Education is driving telemedicine utilization! If employees don’t know about the service, what it does, and how it works…they won’t use it. Education doesn’t have to be a complicated project to be effective. It can be as simple as putting up a few posters or putting an educational insert into payroll envelopes. Putting a page in the company newsletter dedicated to the what, why and how of the new telemedicine benefit doesn’t cost a lot of money or time. Everyone uses email now to communicate, so why not a simple email once a month reminding employees about the benefit? Something as easy as an email or poster can not only educate employees on the benefit, but also will remind them of it when they are not feeling well.
Employees and Employers only can realize the maximum value of telemedicine if it is used. Education is the only way to succeed in driving telemedicine utilization. When it comes to telemedicine, knowledge truly is power. The power to save time and money.