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How Does Telemedicine Work?

How Does Telemedicine Work?

Healthcare can be complicated and frustrating, but more and more, employers are offering telemedicine as a benefit that can simplify how employees access medical providers.

So, how does telemedicine work? Here’s what you need to know, including the benefits of this emerging enrollment trend.

 

How Does Telemedicine Work?

Telemedicine is a broad term that encompasses the many ways patients and medical providers can communicate without being physically present. It most often involves chat, phone, or video technology through a secure online portal. 

The term is often used interchangeably with telehealth, but telehealth more often refers to the broader scope and infrastructure of remote healthcare, including non-clinical services, continuing education and provider training, and scheduling/billing.

Like many industries, healthcare had to pivot quickly to remote operations during COVID, and telemedicine appears to be an enduring outcome of the pandemic. In fact, the regulatory hurdles that presented the largest legal challenge to telemedicine seem to be fading away.

Of course, telemedicine is not an alternative to seeking emergency care for a heart attack, stroke, bone fracture, or other urgent condition requiring hands-on attention. Still, in many circumstances, employees can get the help they need through telemedicine—including minor infections, viral illnesses, and even dermatological diagnoses.

It’s also possible that health concerns that prompt a telemedicine appointment may lead to an in office visit. But telemedicine is an excellent screener for providers and patients to determine when a physical consult is absolutely necessary.

Access to telemedicine varies by health insurance plan and healthcare provider.

 

What Are the Benefits of Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a convenient benefit, saving employees time and money in traveling to and waiting in doctors’ physical offices. In many cases, patients can obtain a diagnosis, learn about treatment options, and even get a prescription through a telemedicine appointment. It provides patients with ease of access and increased flexibility in contrast to in-person office visits. 

Many patients who once had to make the journey to their doctor’s facility, now have the convenience of attending their appointments from their own living rooms. For patients with disabilities or serious illnesses—including infectious diseases—this method provides both comfort and support.

In addition to hard cases, many employees appreciate the added flexibility that comes with telemedicine services. 

Telemedicine also has the potential to reduce overall medical spending by mitigating the misuse of medications and decreasing unnecessary visits to your physician or ER.

 

Additional Resources

You can stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics
  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics

BernieU Course The Ultimate Guide to Benefits Administration and Open Enrollment

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