Your plan members WANT telemedicine — here’s why you should give it to them

January 29th, 2020

By James Vertino, Chief Executive Officer

I just finished reading yet another industry trend piece about how telemedicine is shaping the future of healthcare. It’s a no-brainer that “virtual visits” are here to stay – and should probably be included in every benefit plan.

Telemedicine is a great example of a new-ish care-delivery model that has delivered on its promise. It both improves access to care and contains the cost of care. When you include telemedicine in your benefit plan, you take an important step toward designing a plan that provides the right level of care at the right time.

I can’t stress the importance of that concept enough. Runaway spending is often the result of inappropriate utilization patterns. In other words, your members may be accessing a higher level of care than they need for a simple condition. Because telemedicine offers near-instant access to a doctor 24/7, your plan members make fewer unnecessary visits to Urgent Care or the Emergency Department.

One critical area in which telemedicine really delivers is supporting patients who are self-managing a chronic condition. Too often, this population skips maintenance visits or delays seeking help for a complication – because it’s inconvenient to take off work and drive to an appointment across town. When you remove these barriers, you increase compliance with a treatment or management regimen.

At my company, EBMS, we’ve found that plan members report 96% satisfaction with our dynamic telehealth solution. The average response time for a member to speak with a doctor was less than 10 minutes. And the collective savings realized by plan sponsors and members in 2019 was over $100,000.

I see very little downside to offering telemedicine. There is one very simple key to making your new telemedicine program a success: educate your members about how and when they might benefit from a virtual visit – so they feel confident about using the service.

It’s 2020. The future is here. Telemedicine is part of the game now – so what are you waiting for?