Why Companies In Employee Wellness Need To Up Their Virtual Care Game

Jul 02, 2019

Employee wellness companies have an important mission, to help employers keep their employees healthy. What it means to be healthy is becoming increasingly more holistic and includes not only medical care, but stress management, counselling, a healthy diet, adequate exercise, financial wellness, and social support, to name a few. People lead busy lives and find themselves settling for semi-annual doctor’s visits to avoid the hassle of in-person appointments.

Employee wellness companies like Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and disability management firms are responsible for making health care accessible, convenient, and comprehensive so that employers can help their employees manage their health effectively. Virtual health care is the ultimate solution for all parties involved. Companies in employee wellness must adapt to the ever-changing health care landscape by enabling themselves and their clientele with technology.

How Virtual Care Helps Employers and Employees

1. Increases employees’ access to health care services.

When employee wellness companies offer virtual care, the employees using the platform are able to set up secure one-on-one or group video conferencing and send instant messages to their health care provider. Employees can engage in a counselling session via video call on their lunch break or send their dietician a question via instant messaging on their commute home. This convenience helps employees reduce absence from work without compromising their ability to manage their health.

2. Generates annual savings for employers.

Making the switch from face-to-face visits to both face-to-face and technology-enabled interactions can save employers money. In a 2014 study, Towers Watson concluded that telehealth had the potential to generate $6 billion in annual healthcare cost savings for employers in the United States. Dr. Allan Khoury, a senior consultant at Towers Watson predicts that telehealth will grow exponentially due to its ability to cut costs:

“With both insurance companies and employers encouraging its use, telemedicine is going to have a growing role in the spectrum of health care service delivery. We’re also likely to see that it’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

3. Helps offset preventable chronic diseases in employees.

When health care is accessible, employees are more likely to use it. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, asthma, cancer, and diabetes are often preventable and can be improved with diet, exercise, and treatment therapy. The total cost of obesity to companies in the United States is estimated at $13 billion annually. This includes the “extra” cost of health insurance ($8 billion), sick leave ($2.4 billion), life insurance ($1.8 billion), and disability insurance ($1 billion) associated with obesity.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that eliminating three risk factors – poor diet, inactivity, and smoking – would prevent:

  • 80% of heart disease and stroke;
  • 80% of type 2 diabetes; and,
  • 40% of cancer.

Employers can offer virtual care to provide their employees with dieticians, fitness and wellness professionals, and counsellors that allow them to manage those three major risk factors – poor diet, inactivity, and smoking – from the comfort of their home. This helps improve the overall quality of life of employees and reduce the cost incurred by health insurance, sick leave, life insurance, and disability insurance for employers.

4. Improves employee satisfaction and helps retain employees.

Employees are extremely satisfied with virtual care. A 2016 survey which analyzed responses from 3,000 patients treated at CVS Minute Clinic using telehealth found that between 94 percent and 99 percent were “very satisfied” with telehealth. When employees are satisfied with the health care available to them at work, employers may experience reduced turnover and better employee retention based on this competitive advantage.

How Virtual Care Helps Employee Wellness Providers

1. Reduces overhead cost incurred by traditional in-person expenses.

Using a virtual care platform can significantly reduce costs for health care providers. In-person appointments are more costly due to travel time and higher instances of cancellations or no-shows. The absence of virtual care also leads to more paperwork and more time spent on administrative tasks.

According to the Pan Canadian Telehealth Benefits Report, an estimated 300,000 face-to-face physician visits could be replaced with a Telehealth encounter, saving both providers and patients time and money. Avoiding the estimated 300,000 visits could save Canadian jurisdictions approximately $92 million in travel subsidies. Not only can providers avoid travel subsidies the, Canadian health care system could avoid $540 million in inpatient costs and $23 million in emergency department visit costs. The savings only increase in relation to the number of practices adopting virtual care.

2. Attracts and retains clientele by offering dynamic services.

Platforms like OnCall Health are used by a variety of health care providers, including but not limited to: mental health care providers, dieticians, cannabis clinic, rehab centers, disability management firms, and employee assistance programs.

When disability management firms, employee assistance providers, and other employee wellness companies offer employers virtual care, they offer dynamic services that set them apart from the competition. As mentioned earlier, employees and their employers see increased access to health care services, annual savings, better chronic disease management, and employee satisfaction when using a virtual care platform. Once these benefits become apparent, employee wellness providers will be able to easily attract and retain clientele and ultimately increase revenue.

3. Delivers a personalized and secure experience for users.

The OnCall Health platform allows employee wellness companies like employee assistance programs (EAP) and disability management firms to white label the platform to their preferred brand to ensure a consistent experience for users. Users will receive automated and branded reminders and become familiar with the service provider.

Personalization helps users feel at ease, and so does online security. Virtual care platforms like OnCall Health are HIPAA compliant through data servers in the United States and PIPEDA/PHIPA compliant through data servers in Canada, unlike Skype and FaceTime. All patient information is encrypted and not accessible by OnCall Health; it is only accessible to the patient and that patient’s healthcare provider. Advanced security helps employee wellness providers gain the trust and confidence of their clientele.

4. Reduces administrative tasks for EAP and disability management health care providers.

Virtual health care platforms like OnCall Health help health care providers save hours of time per week with convenient workflow automation. OnCall has built a suite of practice management tools that increase efficiency through the platform. We also allow providers to manage appointment requests, booking and scheduling online. Providers can also manage payment processing directly on the platform.  

When providers use technology to enable their practice, they also see a reduction in paperwork. OnCall Health allows providers to create and share self-help resources directly on the platform, provides built-in consent for users, and offers secure file sharing. When providers spend less time on administrative tasks they can focus their time and energy on providing high-quality care to their clientele. This means that the services the clientele receive through employee wellness companies are enhanced.

Learn More About Virtual Health care and OnCall Health

OnCall Health is a virtual health care platform that enables healthcare providers to conduct secure, online appointments with their patients.  We help increase the accessibility of health services for patients. We remove barriers for patients and help health care providers seamlessly integrate virtual health care into their practice. At OnCall Health, we believe virtual health care will work in partnership with traditional in-person care to deliver patients better health care.

Topics: Industry News