The coronavirus pandemic has reinforced telehealth as a critical aspect of employee benefits plans. The technology offers a safe and convenient pathway for people to receive high-quality medical and mental health care – all from the comfort of their homes. With companies nationwide implementing remote working and social distancing measures, telehealth simply makes logical sense.
While virtual care has garnered its fair share of praise in recent times, are your employees taking full advantage of it? Here are a few ways businesses can boost utilization rates – now and later – to improve the wellbeing of their workforces while protecting the bottom line.
Keep Education Consistent and Accessible
Do your employees know how to access virtual care? Do they know it’s available 24/7, 365 days per year? Do they realize that telehealth can help address mental and emotional health issues in addition to physical ailments?
In addition to educating employees about telehealth during onboarding and open enrollment, consider distributing educational materials during key seasons, such as the start of allergy or flu season, or back-to-school. Further, share studies or testimonials through your company’s intranet or newsletter to prove virtual care’s efficacy. You may also decide to train a few employees, such as an office manager or human resources director, on the ins and outs of your company’s telehealth solution. These telehealth ambassadors become a go-to resource for employee questions and can play a large role in encouraging widespread utilization. Through consistent education, telehealth will become a trusted and reliable pathway to care.
Tailor Communication to Employee Demographics
Promotional communications tailored to individual employee demographic groups (rather than one-size-fits-all messaging) can effectively explain the perks of using the service for different age groups and needs. For example, you may develop a brief video explaining why, how and when to use the virtual care services that are available. The video can also answer FAQs and touch on a few primary perks. In addition, you can distribute written directions, or include telehealth as a topic for discussion during team meetings. Not everyone learns the same way – information on your company’s telehealth solution should be available to employees in a variety of formats.
Remind Employees About Virtual Care at Opportune Times
Many employees love the idea of telehealth, but they forget about the service by the time medical attention is needed. Studies show that repetition is key to remembering a message. Delivering reminders to employees at key moments – for instance, when they call out sick – can be an effective way to encourage utilization. This is an opportunity for employees to experience the convenience and ease of telehealth, in contrast to getting out of bed for a trip to urgent care (which is often accompanied by a long wait). Plus, some employers encourage their teams to set up a telehealth account ahead of time. Then, when they need to use it, they’re already familiar with the platform and offerings.
A lack of utilization often stems from a breakdown in communication and education. The good news is, this can be easily corrected with the right strategy. MeMD data shows that after trying telehealth once, employees will most likely use the service again; it only takes one experience to realize the vast potential of virtual care. Wider utilization means employees can get back to work faster. Their productivity improves while employers enjoy lower healthcare costs. In fact, offering telehealth is shown to improve company culture and prevent burnout, which is especially important during periods of high stress and uncertainty.