For most of us, seeing the doctor means making an appointment, trekking to the doctor’s office and having a face-to-face meeting.
With its increasing accessibility and popularity, however, many consumers are turning to telemedicine as an alternative to a traditional doctor’s office visit.
At Creative Benefits, we have observed a rising interest in telemedicine among healthcare consumers. We attribute this to the growing comfort with tools like FaceTime and Skype. We also connect it to a hunger for flexibility. As a culture, we’ve adapted to instant results and convenience at all levels. Since telemedicine is available 24/7, it fulfills that need.
Telemedicine does not replace visits to a regular provider but it is a good substitute when traditional medical care is not readily available. For example, telemedicine is useful when a family member needs medical care but the doctor’s office is closed. It is helpful when a parent needs an immediate solution for a child awake at 3 a.m. It works well when people are traveling and can’t get to their regular doctor.
In general, problems that can be diagnosed without an extensive physical exam, like sinus infections or urinary tract infections, can be treated via telemedicine. But telemedicine is definitely not a replacement for emergency care. Anyone with life-threatening symptoms needs to immediately visit the closest emergency room.
As telemedicine continues to emerge on the market and consumers become more comfortable with the idea, we predict its popularity will grow significantly. Still, for now we see people using telemedicine mainly when they are cornered into it by necessity.
Employers can generate awareness about telemedicine by educating employees. For example, a telemedicine provider can be contacted at any time, but it is more efficient (and in some cases more economical), to set up an account and online profile before the service is needed. Then, if a patient needs to “see” a doctor, the physician has immediate access to their medical history and can help more efficiently. Educated employees get the best results and are more satisfied with their benefits.
Contact Creative Benefits for more information to learn how we help employers educate employees about healthcare benefits, including access to telemedicine.
For more information about benefits in policies administered by Creative Benefits, call one of our Employee Service Representatives (ESR) toll-free at 844-231-8414. An ESR advisor can discuss the details of any benefit plan administered by Creative Benefits and explain coverage and copays for telemedicine (or any other benefit).
As always, Creative Benefits is here to help. For answers to questions about telemedicine or other benefits, please call us.
About the author: Courtney Kehoe has been an account manager at Creative Benefits for 3 years. Courtney works with employers and employees to administer benefit plans and address questions and concerns related to employee benefits. Her goal is to provide the highest level of comprehensive services and she strives to exceed expectations.