Telemedicine Benefits on the Rise with Employers: Study

For employees of large companies, having access to telemedicine care is increasingly becoming “the new normal.” In fact, according to one recent employer survey, 96 percent of large companies will be offering some sort of telemedicine coverage to their employees during the next year. As Forbes, MobiHealthNews, and others first reported, the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) annual survey of 148 companies found that, for a variety of reasons, large employers are embracing telemedicine. “Employers are recognizing that traditional cost control techniques alone aren’t able to reduce costs to the point where they are no longer a drain on the bottom line,” Brian Marcotte, who serves as the NBGH president and CEO, said in a statement accompanying the release of the survey’s findings.

Digging deeper into the survey results, Forbes’ Bruce Japsen notes that about 56 percent of companies polled will be offering employees access to tele-mental health services—more than twice as many as are currently doing so. Japsen suggests that this increase is due in part to the opioid epidemic, which those surveyed considered to be of “particular concern.” What’s more, telemedicine visits are often a good fit when it comes to treating those struggling with addiction. As American Well CEO Roy Schoenburg told Japsen, “Access to behavioral services is even more challenging than access to medical care, [but] the conversational nature of behavioral services makes video encounters [a] perfect alternative to physical ones, and the notion of privacy couldn’t be better addressed when you have the encounter in your own home.”

This year’s NBGH survey results are in line with an overall trend that the organization has identified toward increased telemedicine adoption among large companies in recent years. MobiHealthNews points out that, since the survey was first conducted in 2014, the number of companies signaling that they’ll include coverage in their benefits packages has consistently increased. In 2014, only 48 percent of large companies polled told NBGH that they planned to offer telemedicine services to workers; that number rose to 90 percent in the 2016 survey. The survey’s findings echo those of a recent study demonstrating health care organizations’ desire to invest in telehealth and remote monitoring. As we reported back in April, an American Telemedicine Association (ATA) survey of 171 health care executives found that an overwhelming 83 percent of health care organizations have plans to invest in telehealth and mHealth in the next year. Only one percent of respondents had no plans to do so at any point in the future.

Click here to read the Forbes article on the NBGH survey.

Click here to read the MobiHealthNews article on the NBGH survey.

Click here to read the NBGH press release on its survey findings.

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