Telemedicine is defined as "the use of telecommunication to provide clinical health care from a distance." It provides greater access to healthcare for all users, however, it's not limited only to those who live far away from a clinic. It is advantageous for a busy urban worker because of its ease of access. Furthermore, it can help improve diagnosing and treatment efficiency by getting quick and easy second opinions. That's why Telemedicine is a fast growing sector within the healthcare industry.
What is telemedicine?
There are various practical uses of telemedicine in today's world. The most common example is a clinician providing a medical service over a distance through the use of telecommunications. People typically think of this as a video chat through their mobile device.
You work at small business with 10 employees. You work at the office 9-5 and get a 1 hour flexible lunch break. Last night you came down with chills but think nothing of it. Today, you show up to work and feel sick. You work through the day but productivity goes down as you're feeling sick. Tomorrow, you will have to take time off work to visit your family doctor, assuming you can find a spot. In most cases, you have to book in advance to get a time or alternatively, wait long hours at a walk-in.
Now picture that same situation, but with access to virtual mobile healthcare:
Instead of spending the entire day waiting in line at a clinic, you could spend 15 minutes of your 1 hour lunch break and talk to a medical professional through your mobile device. A virtual clinic can treat you and provide any prescriptions (as needed). The best part? Prescriptions are shipped to your house or office, free of charge. Imagine the time saved and the immediate relief on the same day for a simple 15 minutes off work. You could even decide the next day whether to stay home and relax if things get more severe, or show up to work knowing full well you are already treated.
What is the popularity behind telemedicine?
With longer life spans, greater access to health information, and an increased spotlight on physical and mental health, society is leaning towards telemedicine as a supplement to your local walk-in clinic / family doctor. Common symptoms like allergies, asthma, sore throat, urinary infections, the common cold, or flu no longer require a long wait at the walk-in. Patients can communicate with medical professionals on a telemedicine platform to discuss their needs via video, chat and audio. Talk on your own time and pick up prescriptions directly at your residence or workplace. Telemedicine provides 24/7 access, especially useful for hours outside of the standard work day.
How does telemedicine reduce costs / save money?
1. It does wonders for a busy small business owner:
Access to healthcare even when working remotely or travelling within Canada
Peace of mind for the user, knowing that they are protected.
Lower drug costs
Save time and money by having prescription drugs shipped (for free) to you. Eliminate lengthy prescription renewal processes.
Promotes Work-Life Balance
Work-Life Balance is a crucial factor in today's workplace. Health coverage and virtual healthcare go hand in hand with it. Instead of arranging your schedule around your health, let these appointments fit your schedule.
2. Telemedicine also benefits your employees:
Attract and retain talent
It's no secret. healthier employees are more likely to stay at their job.
With an increasing number of employers offering telehealth options, it only makes sense for small businesses to step up their recruitment game.
Reduce absenteeism and increase productivity
Without telemedicine, employees sick at work will be busy coordinating medical appointments or be worried about their family's health. In fact, healthy employees are proven to be more productive. You no longer have to worry about employees absenteeism, presenteeism due to a sickness.
When should I use telemedicine? What is eligible?
Telemedicine is used to treat common symptoms like colds and flu (fever, nasal congestion, and sinus pain) infections, allergies, arthritic pain, asthma, travel health, breastfeeding support, insect bites, rashes, UTIs, minor injuries, mental health, and more. Typically, anything that is easily treatable and doesn't require in-person procedures.
Note: Telemedicine should not be used for medical emergencies. Consult the ER or call 911 if you have severe conditions.
Where can I find telemedicine services?
Olympia has partnered with Dialogue to offer two exclusive options:
1. The HSA Deluxe is our premier package for a self employed worker / contractor. It includes:
A Health Spending Account - cost effective health and dental coverage for the family
Access to Dialogue - Telemedicine Services for the family (owner and spouse)
Dialogue is a secure and leading virtual healthcare service with one of, if not, the largest number of active medical professionals. It uses proprietary technology that continuously improves based on client and patient feedback. On top of that, many other telemedicine services do not offer pricing for 1-10 businesses. Most require a minimum of 20 employees.
Self employed incorporated business? Discover how Dialogue can benefit your family through the HSA Deluxe:
Are you an existing Olympia HSA GROUP client? Learn how Dialogue helps your employee help you:
Additional reading on Telemedicine and Health Spending Accounts: