As the pandemic wears on, telemedicine has proven to be a dependable and safe alternative to in-person care. It’s a convenient, affordable means to access 24/7 care by simply using phone or video. Patients can connect with a doctor in minutes for non-emergency, common illnesses like sore throat, cold and even dermatological issues such as rashes or abrasions. By meeting patients where they are and helping them avoid germy waiting rooms, telemedicine limits exposure to the COVID-19 virus and other contagions.
There are numerous advantages to providing and using a telemedicine solution to workers and their loved ones. Because it keeps patients safe and is easy to access, telemedicine utilization has skyrocketed due to the pandemic. It’s become a necessity and a source of relief to many. 64% of US households reported using some form of virtual care in 2021, up from less than 1% in 2019.1 Most Americans used virtual care in the last two years and 88% plan to continue using telemedicine in the future.2
This increase in telemedicine utilization also supports employers. Telemedicine reduces healthcare costs by limiting medical claims billed through the employer-sponsored health insurance plan. Two-thirds of emergency room visits are avoidable, and telemedicine can help limit those unnecessary, costly visits.3
Providing a telemedicine solution to employees not only reduces the number of high-cost medical claims but it also boosts workforce productivity. The CDC reports that 50% of Americans are diagnosed with a chronic condition which “cost US employers $36.4 billion (about $110 per person in the US) a year because of employees missing days of work.”4 By offering quick and easy access to a doctor with telemedicine, employers can advocate for their employees’ health and decrease missed workdays.
In 2022, physicians are planning to maintain and even increase usage of telemedicine. According to the American Medical Association, “85% [of physicians] indicated that telehealth increased timeliness of care, 75% said telehealth allowed them to deliver high-quality care and more than 70% were motivated to increase telehealth use.”5 With telemedicine, physicians can meet people where they are, removing access barriers that would otherwise limit a patient from receiving care. Plus, they can virtually deliver dependable care at little-to-no cost to the patient.
To review the impact of telemedicine in 2022:
- Patients will continue to use telemedicine because of convenient access to high-quality care.
- Employers can save money by providing telemedicine to their workforce, as well as boost productivity.
- Physicians will continue to offer and increase visits to provide trustworthy virtual care via telemedicine.
Expanding access to affordable, convenient and high-quality care that patients, employers and physicians approve of and use makes one thing clear: Telemedicine is here to stay!