When Steve Jobs debuted the iPad in 2010, nobody realized they needed a tablet. To make the case, Jobs explained during an Apple press conference how the tablet performed specific tasks—such as web browsing—better than computers or smartphones. Today, tablets have transitioned from novelty to an integral part of our lives. Whether they help us take notes at a business meeting or conveniently access the internet on the go, tablets have become essential tools in our business and personal lives.
Like the iPad, telemedicine began as a novelty just a few years ago. Today, telemedicine’s fast adoption rate suggests that it will soon become mainstream. That’s because it provides certain aspects of healthcare better than traditional delivery models.
Not surprisingly, the growth of telemedicine is astounding. Recent research shows its adoption rate among large employers increased from 30% in 2015 to 59% in 2016. In 2017, the adoption rate for telehealth services could grow as high as 90%.
And telemedicine is no longer just a large employer perk. Today, small employers find that they can affordably offer telemedicine services comparable to the kind that large employers offer. Why? A combination of maturing service delivery models combined with faster, more ubiquitous internet access (especially through smartphones and tablets) means that telemedicine can reach more people than ever with low-cost, quality healthcare.
To show that telemedicine isn’t just hype, let’s dig deeper and learn more about why employers are rapidly embracing it.
Telemedicine Solves Important Healthcare Problems for Both Employees and Employers
Traditionally, many of us access medical care through in-person doctors’ office visits, urgent care, and emergency rooms. That physical access is time-consuming, expensive, and logistically difficult. Telemedicine removes many of these obstacles and barriers. It often:
The time, money, and hassle of in-person visits may cause you to procrastinate and put off medical care—even when you have serious symptoms—because you cannot find time to visit a doctor or afford that visit.
But with telemedicine’s ease of access and low cost, many common illnesses such as colds, flus, allergies, and stomach bugs can get diagnosed and treated. As a result, it is projected that telemedicine may end up reducing doctor visits by 70% and ER visits by 40%.
Telemedicine Benefits for Employers
The employer adoption rate for telemedicine continues to increase rapidly because it provides so many important benefits.
Employers offering telemedicine save money, provide employees with better and less expensive healthcare coverage, and increase employee productivity through reduced absenteeism. In our next two posts, we will share some employer and employee stories that illustrate the benefits of offering telemedicine.
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