How plan sponsors are really stepping up on behalf of their members

In this digital dimension we are now immersed in, web-based mental-health care is rapidly becoming more advanced and is catering to the evolving needs of the modern workforce.

With studies suggesting that up to 70% of doctors’ visits can be handled virtually, online health-care platforms are quickly becoming an integral part of group benefits plans making it easy for workers to seek help.

With video health conferencing and telemedicine now allowing patients and health-care practitioners to link up with each other, often right on a smartphone or through a computer, it not only saves time throughout their day, but allows them to be more transparent to get to the essence of the problem.

The value of virtual healthcare as a supplementary tool 

From a very high-level, this is one of the best ways that virtual healthcare can help encourage plan members take full ownership of their health; but when you get into the weeds with it, over half of medical consultations do not require a hands-on in-person consultation – which is really the driving force behind this digital shift.

Whether people just want quicker access to medical information and questions, or if somebody just can’t take time away from their workday, this healthcare solution has already helped people:

  • In remote communities with limited access to doctors and expertise,
  • Curb unnecessary waiting room visits,
  • Access online/remote counselling,
  • Families with young children, and no babysitting options,
  • Folks with limited mobility, and/or transportation options
  • Save time at walk-in clinics for general information.

How virtual healthcare empowers members to take ownership of their health

  1. Healthcare Spending Accounts

Mental health is posing a large problem for employers. Healthcare Spending Accounts not only allow patients to book a video call with registered medical professionals, they provide a controlled benefit costs for the plan sponsor. With the traditional model of care increasingly becoming unsustainable and mental health concerns at an all-time high, these new digital technologies can give people access to mental health professionals – whenever they need it.

  1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a very common type of talk therapy where someone can speak directly with a licensed therapist. It is the most effective and commonly used therapy for a wide range of mental health concerns delivered by a therapist through an online platform.

  1. Wellness Spending Accounts

One of the key differences between wellness and healthcare spending accounts is that it’s taxable to the employee. It also encourages employee wellness and healthy living, as opposed to supporting more medical expenses with its HSA counterpart.

Virtual healthcare, telemedicine or doctor-in-a-pocket; or however you wish to call it, provides a healthy compliment to both an employee benefits plan and the provincial health care coverage, while catering to the evolving needs of the modern workforce.

While some skepticism lingers, and conventional wisdom suggesting that in-person evaluations are still more important, employers are increasingly seeing value in providing online mental-health care to staff through new digital avenues.

We all need to fully embrace telehealth, and understand the unique benefits it can provide.