8 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Virtual Care Service for Employees

October 25, 2022

First Stop Health

As a result of the pandemic and growing influences of a digital world, 95% of employers shifted their focus to virtual care and now offer it as an employee benefit.1 Of course, as demand grows, more virtual care options hit the market and there are now an overwhelming number of virtual care providers to choose from.  

To help Human Resources (HR) and benefits professionals, we’ve rounded up the biggest mistakes that are made when choosing a virtual care service for workers.  

1. Disregarding Average Utilization 

The magic number in virtual care is utilization. The more workers (and their loved ones) use virtual care, the fewer medical claims are incurred, leading to a decrease in healthcare expenses for employers. Plus, higher utilization means a healthier workforce. To ensure employees and employers receive the maximum benefit from virtual care, annual usage rates should be 25% or higher.  

2. Missing Employee Engagement  

What drives utilization? Active employee engagement. An effective virtual care solution should secure employee engagement through a customized communications plan tailored to the specific needs and demographics of workers. Employee engagement campaigns should run year-round to support seasonal needs, as well as encourage annual wellness checkups.

3. Omitting Performance Guarantees  

Whether it’s utilization or savings guarantees, virtual care companies should be confident in their solutions and promise success with performance guarantees. The right virtual care company will share risk and consistently demonstrate strong utilization or positive ROI (return on investment) in hard-dollar savings. It’s important to commit to meeting those expectations in writing. Requiring a virtual care company to offer reasonable guarantees will ensure that savings from avoided trips to doctors' offices, urgent care clinics or emergency rooms will meet or exceed the cost of the virtual care solution. 

4. Skipping Mental Health Support  

About 1 in 5 adults are experiencing a mental health illness.2 To better support employees struggling with a mental health concern, employers should offer a mental health program that is available 24/7, has no restrictions on the number of visits or concerns needed to be addressed, and is free for them and their families to use.  

5. Overlooking Provider Network  

To ensure high-quality medical care for employees, employers should select a virtual care company that operates its own doctor network and monitors the care patients receive. Quality assurance is necessary and consistent reviews of doctor-patient interactions uphold the best standards. The better the doctors, the healthier the employees.  

6. Leaving Out Reporting Capabilities 

Time to see a doctor, assessed medical conditions, average savings per visit and other data should be reported transparently and frequently. A hands-on approach for reporting allows employers to see the success of their virtual care program in real time.  

7. Forgetting About Wait Times & Employee Experience 

Wait times for telemedicine (virtual urgent care) should be less than 10 minutes and less than 4 days for virtual primary care and mental health, on average. It’s easy to overlook wait times as a crucial part of the patient’s experience since it’s already expedited compared to in-person care. When an employee gets care fast, they are more likely to use the virtual care service again and again.  

The employee digital experience is also important to consider. A simple user-experience encourages employees to use virtual care. A lengthy and tedious registration process deters employees, and a simple login process is essential.  

8. Depending on Insurance Company Embedded Options 

Lack of trust with insurance carriers, limited reporting capabilities, low utilization, minimal employee engagement and no performance guarantees are just a few reasons that carrier-embedded virtual care doesn’t bring value to employers and their employees.  

What Makes First Stop Health (FSH) Virtual Care Solutions Different 

  • We drive our industry-leading utilization with custom, persona-based employee engagement campaigns – that we also organize, implement and fund.  
  • Preregistration of all members for simple login process and convenient access via app, website or phone call.  
  • Speedy access – usually within 4 days – to high-quality doctors from the FSH virtual practice.
  • We are one of the only virtual care companies to promise the success of our solutions with performance guarantees.
  • Virtual Primary Care in conjunction with Virtual Mental Health support whole-person health guidance through dual therapy.
  • Transparent, easy-to-access client reporting is available 24/7 on custom dashboards and we provide hands-on support for clients.
  • Standalone virtual care option that offers value-based care to our members and clients.  
  1. https://www.kff.org/report-section/ehbs-2021-section-13-employer-practices-telehealth-and-employer-responses-to-the-pandemic/ 
  2. https://mhanational.org/issues/2022/mental-health-america-adult-data 

Originally published Oct 25, 2022 2:25:43 PM.