How to Get Your Employees on Board with Telehealth

The benefits of telehealth services are plentiful and proven. If you have a cold, flu or other minor illness or injury, an on-demand appointment with a provider via web cam beats sitting in a waiting room any day of the week. Beyond the convenience and ease for employees, it’s also a high-value option for employers. It’s cost-effective and helps employees get healthy and back to work quickly.

All of that said, telehealth only works when people use it. And people only use it when they know it’s an option and understand how to access services. Get your employees on board with telehealth – and help them reap the benefits of 24/7 access.

Train

This one seems obvious, but its importance cannot be overstated. Be sure to train up a “resident expert” on telehealth, whether it’s an office manager, human resources director or the entire HR team. Educating each and every employee on how to use a new service can be daunting, but ensuring a few key players understand the ins and outs will go a long way in wide adoption of telehealth.

Explain

How do I use teleservices? Why would I use it? When should I use it? These are just a few common questions about telehealth. Building telehealth into a health plan is great from an administrative point of view, but it's not great if your goal is for employees to use the services. Amidst the many pages of plan paperwork, telehealth is often buried and hard to find. Even worse, the paperwork offers little direction on how to use the services, all but killing off any possibility that employees will take advantage of a hidden gem.

We recommend creating a simple, concise video that explains the perks of telehealth and answers common questions about why, how and when to use the services that are available. Once employees understand the value and ease of telehealth, they’ll be eager to jump on board – and that’s good for them and the company.

Remind

When people are sick, they desperately want to get better. How do you ensure they remember that telehealth is an option?

Let’s say you roll out a new health plan on Jan. 1. You tell your staff about this great new option called telehealth, and they share in your enthusiasm...because who doesn’t want 24/7 access to healthcare? However, old habits die hard. When an employee comes down with an illness that requires medical attention, they’re likely to follow the same old routine: they’ll call their primary care doc and hope for a same-day appointment or sit in an urgent care – often for a long time – until a provider can see them. It’s a bum deal, especially for someone who’s feeling awful and just wants to stay in bed.

Reminding your staff at regular intervals – through emails, company newsletters or lunch-and-learns – about the value and convenience of telehealth will help keep the service top of mind. Take it a step further and encourage staff to create an account – before they get sick – to make it easy to log in and access the service when they need care pronto. One more idea? Reward those employees who create their accounts in advance. A reward will make it worth their while, and you’ll benefit on the flip side when they get the care they need – quickly – and aren’t home sick (or at work sick) longer than needed.

Understand

Telehealth is so easy, so convenient and so valuable, that people may want to use the service for any and every healthcare need. When educating your staff, it’s important for them to know that telehealth is not designed to replace their primary care provider. In fact, details from phone or web visits can be shared with employees’ PCPs to ensure continuity of care. Telehealth is an ideal option for people seeking treatment for common conditions or minor injuries.

Experience

Telehealth is like anything else. One great experience can go a long way in fostering adoption company-wide. Employees talk – so give them something productive to talk about – like how they used telehealth to get better.

Of course, people talk about bad experiences, too, so take care to select a telehealth provider with a history of quality service and exceptional customer reviews. Check out credible sites like Trustpilot to ensure you’re picking the right partner.

Expand

Using telehealth for primary or urgent care needs is nothing new, but how else might your employees benefit from the telehealth model of care?

Everyone knows that physical illness or injury can impair productivity, but did you know that behavioral or emotional health issues impact employees’ effectiveness at work, too? We’re not just talking about major mental illness – we’re talking about the stressors that affect everyday people, all the time – things like marital issues, anxiety, depression or problems with substance abuse.

In fact, one in six U.S. adults suffer from a mental health condition, and nearly 60 percent of them do not receive proper treatment. Give your staff simple and convenient access to online behavioral health services to ensure their general health and wellbeing, improve your workplace culture, and boost employee productivity.


Elie Goodman is the vice president of marketing for MeMD® offers a comprehensive telehealth solution that facilitates on-demand, online care for common illnesses, injuries and behavioral health issues for consumers and businesses nationwide