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Telemedicine Is Here To Stay

David Rook

Before working in employee benefits, I spent nearly a decade working for America Online (AOL). For those of you not old enough to remember, AOL was the gateway to the internet for tens of millions of people in the mid 1990's and early 2000's, as the "world wide web" went mainstream.

In those days, AOL's senior leadership placed bets on all sorts of industries they thought they could disrupt, from online dating and car shopping to airline bookings and online auctions. When asked what the company was learning from placing strategic bets in all of these commerce verticals, AOL's Founder Steve Case said, "it appears that anything that's easier to do online than offline will eventually transition to the web."

That very same insight can now safely be said of telemedicine. While both patients and providers were slow to embrace it, the popularity of telemedicine exploded this past year, while funding for almost anything telehealth-related has been booming.

According to technology vendor AthenHealth, they saw telehealth volumes in their network increase from less than 1% of total volumes pre-pandemic to as high as 32% during the pandemic, before settling in at around 10-11%.

And while it may be tempting to brush off telemedicine as a stopgap measure that served its purpose during this unprecedented healthcare emergency, new research shows that virtual care will long outlast the pandemic itself. In fact, experts predict that the telehealth market is expected to reach $185.6 billion by 2026.

Why? Because simply put, it's easier to do online than it is to do offline.

In a recent study by Doctor.com, telemedicine was shown to save patients over 100 minutes of their time compared to in-person office visits. Add to this that video visits often trigger a lower co-pay than an in-person appointment, and you have a winning combination – a savings of both time and money.

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Topics: Telemedicine, Telehealth, Telecare, Virtual Care, Virtual Health, Virtual Medicine

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5 HR Technology Trends to Monitor in 2021

Jeff Griffin

With the pandemic entering its second year, many organizations have adopted remote work as part of their everyday business operations. Many employers plan to continue this practice, in whole or in part, once the pandemic subsidies. 

The sustainability of this practice is putting increased pressure on organizations to optimize their remote technology solutions for collaboration, communication, monitoring, security, and performance evaluation when working from a distance.

Of course, applying technical solutions to workplace challenges is nothing new for HR. For almost two decades, technological innovations have helped HR departments become far more efficient, eliminating redundancies while vastly improving data integrity.

By automating a wide range of time-consuming business functions, HR professionals have been liberated to shift their focus from rote administrative tasks to high-impact tasks like strategy, employee engagement, and change management. 

In fact, according to PwC’s 2020 Human Resources Technology Survey, the core issues driving HR technology decisions today include: 

  • Finding, attracting, and retaining talent 
  • Developing people to reach their full potential
  • Improving the employee experience 
  • Creating collaborative work environments 
  • Workforce planning 
  • Ensuring employee well-being, diversity, and inclusivity 

With HR technology solutions in abundance to help enhance the overall employee experience, transform businesses, and assist organizations responding to change, here are five HR technology trends to watch for in 2021.

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Topics: Technology, Telemedicine, COVID-19

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5 Telehealth Trends to Watch in 2021

Jeff Griffin

Employers that are interested in cutting their health care expenses are likely familiar with telehealth. This is the process of communicating with a doctor via an app, or a webcam and computer. During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth usage skyrocketed, making it one of the most popular ways to receive health care.

As such, employers should stay apprised of notable telehealth trends to ensure they stay competitive and provide the best health care options to their employees. This article discusses five telehealth trends to watch for in 2021.

1. More Patient Utilization of Telehealth

As was stated, telehealth exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. To put that into figures, nearly half (43.5%) of Medicare primary care visits in April 2020 were made using telehealth, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. And even before the pandemic, year-over-year utilization was up 33% in early 2020, according to Medical Economics.

If these statistics aren’t enough to prove that telehealth is here to stay, look instead at market projections. The telehealth market is estimated to surmount $185 billion by 2026, according to Fortune Business Insights. Considering the market was only worth around $34 billion in 2018, this shows how much of an impact telehealth has made on the health care industry.

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Topics: Cost Containment, Telemedicine, COVID-19

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The Pros and Cons of Telemedicine

Jeff Griffin


Cultivating a truly competitive employee benefits package can sometimes seem like an insurmountable task. Most employers work in earnest to put in place the very best benefits they can afford, without compromising coverage. This is especially true when it comes to the medical portion of their program.

Telemedicine, rapidly growing in popularity, is an excellent way to supplement a medical plan without driving up costs - but it does have some drawbacks as well. So what exactly is telemedicine, and is it a good fit for your company? 

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Telemedicine, HSAs

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Is Telemedicine Useful in Stemming Rising Healthcare Costs?

David Rook

Internet-based virtual doctor visits and telemedicine health services are increasingly gaining acceptance among consumers. Just witness yesterday's $125MM acquisition of Scottsdale, AZ-based HealthiestYou by Teladoc as proof. In fact, it's estimated that there will soon be more than one million patients worldwide seeking online doctors instead of using traditional hospital visits.

This hard to ignore growth could place further pressure on doctors to update their health IT infrastructure and allow them to compete in the online medical space. Online doctors could help alleviate the cost of healthcare and improve the affordability of providing healthcare-related employee benefits. Many patients are opting for more informal online video meetings with their doctors in order to fit a doctor’s “visit” into their busy schedules.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Cost Containment, Telemedicine

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