Key Takeaways

  • Small businesses and their employees can enjoy considerable cost savings from embracing telemedicine.
  • Telemedicine makes it easier to access healthcare from anywhere, saving businesses and their employees time and stress.
  • Common misconceptions still surround telemedicine, like privacy concerns and its recent popularity, but as the technology improves, these concerns are increasingly addressed.
  • Redirect Health integrates telemedicine into our plans, providing members with streamlined access to care and direct support from the Redirect Health Care Team.

Telemedicine has become increasingly popular in the past few years due to its added convenience compared to traditional health insurance, providing vast potential for small businesses. With the onset of a pandemic and the need for social distancing, telemedicine was an excellent solution for allowing people to address their healthcare concerns while minimizing the risk of spreading disease.

However, telemedicine was on the rise even before that, as it offers several benefits, allowing employees to access care without having to travel to appointments or scramble to find an appointment time that works. With the added convenience, small businesses can stand to gain a variety of benefits from utilizing telemedicine in their healthcare plans, from improved employee satisfaction to improved productivity.

The Current Landscape of Small Business Healthcare

In the current landscape, small businesses face several challenges in providing affordable and accessible healthcare to their employees. Many of these challenges stem from the limitations of the traditional health insurance model and often make it difficult for them to offer healthcare at all.

Key limitations that affect small business healthcare include:

  • High out-of-pocket costs – The administrative costs of traditional health insurance often result in high co-pays, deductibles, and premiums. These high costs can make it difficult for small businesses to provide coverage to their employees or make it difficult for employees to access care if they do.
  • Restricted access – Geographical and time constraints can make it difficult for policyholders to access care when they need it. With employees concerned about using up PTO time or not wanting to miss out on wages, they may struggle to make the time to schedule or travel to appointments.
  • Limited availability – Healthcare providers face the difficulty of scheduling patients for in-person appointments. Patients may have to wait weeks before they can see a provider, which can delay access to valuable care that patients need. This is especially true for specialists.

With the challenges of traditional healthcare models, small businesses can struggle to provide affordable and accessible coverage to their employees, which can result in disruptions to productivity and even employee satisfaction.

Telemedicine serves as one of the best solutions to the challenges in the current small business landscape, helping businesses circumvent the limitations of traditional health insurance and improve their operations.

What Is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a method of connecting patients and healthcare providers online without them having to be in the same location. Both parties can be in different parts of the same city or across the world, limiting the barriers to accessing care.

Telemedicine provides patients access to healthcare professionals through a virtual setting. Thanks to telemedicine, patients only need a device like a smartphone, computer, or tablet that can allow them to connect with their provider through the internet. Telemedicine is a valuable tool throughout multiple steps of the medical process, including preventive care, follow-up appointments, regular check-ins, and more.

This method has increased in popularity over the past few years, with telemedicine encounters rising from 0.3% of all health interactions in March-June 2019 to 23.6% of all interactions in the first three months of the pandemic. Since then, many people have continued to use telehealth because of its multiple advantages.

Key Benefits of Telemedicine for Small Businesses

Telemedicine offers benefits for small businesses, employees, and the healthcare system as a whole. By leveraging telemedicine, small businesses may see lower healthcare costs, improved employee satisfaction, and even improved productivity.

Achieve Cost Savings

Studies regarding healthcare costs found that telemedicine can save patients anywhere between $147 to $186 per visit. By diverting patients away from emergency departments, telemedicine may save up to $1,500 per visit.

By interacting with healthcare providers and care teams from a device in real-time, patients cut down on travel costs and are less likely to visit emergency rooms. As a result, telemedicine directly reduces strain on both patients and the healthcare system as a whole, leading to lower premium costs for small businesses and their employees.

With greater affordability, people are more likely to seek care, resulting in better health outcomes and preventing them from seeking more expensive care for neglected conditions or visiting emergency departments.

Virtual care also makes preventive care more accessible, so employees can schedule appointments around their workday, instead of during it. This also means employees can manage health conditions and catch them sooner, so they’re less likely to miss work for more severe complications. Employees save on travel costs or spending their PTO/sick time, and businesses save by minimizing lost productivity.

Improve Employee Healthcare Access

Telemedicine gives employees the ability to schedule virtual appointments with their healthcare providers. This potential for virtual care allows for flexible scheduling and cuts out the need for travel time completely.

With telemedicine, employees can access all of the following types of care more easily:

  • Primary care – Virtual care makes employees more likely to seek primary and preventive care more regularly, helping them remain in their best health and avoid more expensive healthcare concerns in the future.
  • Mental health care – Telemedicine makes it easier to meet with a therapist or mental health professional more regularly, helping employees manage their mental health and stress.
  • Specialist care – Patients can access specialists more directly with telehealth, bypassing the need to schedule multiple appointments to address one concern.
  • Follow-up care – With telemedicine, patients can access treatment sooner and more quickly and address concerns or ongoing conditions, without having to visit a physical office.

By improving employee healthcare access, businesses see multiple benefits. With employees able to access healthcare more easily, they’re less likely to miss work and require employers to cover their shifts. With fewer call-outs, small businesses can enjoy greater efficiency and carry on their functions without losing revenue or productivity.

Meanwhile, improved employee healthcare access also makes a job position more desirable to current and prospective employees. Employees value when their needs are met. As a result, small businesses that offer health plans are better able to attract and retain employees than businesses that do not.

Common Concerns and Misconceptions

With telemedicine quickly skyrocketing in popularity in recent years, some people are still resistant to telemedicine and the potential it has to offer.

Common concerns and misconceptions around telemedicine include:

  • Telehealth is too new – Some people worry that telehealth is too new to appropriately address their concerns and ensure data privacy. However, telehealth has been around for decades, and the technology and processes are only improving.
  • It’s only for people far from hospitals – Anyone can use telehealth to make accessing care more convenient. Even if you live within a short distance of a clinic or hospital, telehealth is an efficient way to interact with healthcare providers and manage your care.
  • It won’t address your health concerns – Doctors can accomplish a lot for their patients through a telehealth appointment and address a variety of healthcare concerns. From filling prescriptions to ordering labs, doctors can support patients in many ways.

Telehealth is a foundational part of the future of healthcare. Although there are still some misconceptions surrounding the value and reliability of telemedicine, many people who embrace telehealth realize the many benefits that come with using it and will continue to use it into the future.

How Redirect Health Empowers Small Businesses Through Telemedicine

The increased popularity of telemedicine in the healthcare landscape has generated several benefits for small businesses and their employees. By integrating telemedicine into their healthcare, small businesses can enjoy reduced costs, greater employee satisfaction, and improved productivity.

Redirect Health has been incorporating telemedicine for years as an integral part of our plans that improves access to healthcare for small businesses and their employees and cuts costs in the process. With our well-rounded plans and unique model, employees also enjoy low out-of-pocket costs and consistent support from our Care Team, along with access to quality coverage.

Start exploring our small business plans for yourself to see all that we have to offer. Contact us to learn more about how we support small businesses by improving access to healthcare through telemedicine and our Care Team of industry experts.

Share this article: