The Role Telemedicine for Employees Plays in a Business Continuity Plan

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Hospital and doctor’s office visits are a necessary evil. While they are for our own good, these sessions can be time-consuming, uncomfortable, and inconvenient.

The emergence of telemedicine has helped ease those potential worries by providing an immediate and user-friendly option for patient care. For the companies that employ these patients, telemedicine can be a game-changer for business continuity plans. And when it’s implemented as one of the primary health and safety measures in the workplace, telemedicine gives employees added peace of mind.

Why Your Business Continuity Plan Needs Telemedicine

While telemedicine isn’t new, relatively few companies have included it in their employee benefits packages. But as companies look for new and efficient ways to keep their workforce well, it’s a forward-thinking way of investing in employee health.

Now more than ever, employee safety and well-being are top of mind. Employees returning to the office amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are prioritizing personal protective equipment, or PPE. Remote workers, meanwhile, are taking mental health concerns seriously through employer-provided employee assistance programs and using their paid time off to recharge.

Providing telemedicine for employees can lower the number of sick days workers take, minimize the transmission of infectious diseases, and reduce employer healthcare costs. Adding telehealth to your existing benefits package provides employees and associates with instant, 24/7 access to doctors by video, phone, or email without additional deductions or copays added to the overall benefits package. On top of that, telemedicine for employees is the kind of added convenience that can boost employee retention.

Telemedicine also offers a means to protect the physical workplace without disrupting business operations. Nothing — including staff well-being — should be taken for granted with potential interruptions to operations lingering around every corner. Investing in employee health with offerings like telemedicine not only allows companies to protect their workers, but it also drives down insurance costs and provides an opportunity to invest in employees elsewhere.

In short, the telemedicine benefits for employees aren’t limited to employee health; they extend to the overall well-being of an organization.

Put Telemedicine in a Position to Thrive

For health and safety measures in the workplace to succeed, you need a solid implementation plan. To drive early adoption, you’ll want to put a structure in place to promote a culture of safety and wellness. Here’s how to do it:

1. Build a workplace readiness plan.
Another way to describe a business continuity plan, this checklist should detail any fail-safes necessary in the event of a disruption.

At Integrity Staffing Solutions, we updated our plan to include sourcing/recruiting, onboarding, social distancing/safety protocols, and communications. Telemedicine for employees fits into the safety protocol bucket, providing employees with a quick, efficient, and low-cost way to receive medical care.

2. Provide PPE and other health and safety measures in the workplace.
Business owners are required by OSHA to assess their spaces for any possible issues that can negatively affect employee health. PPE provided by employers should also include the necessary training and knowledge to use the equipment effectively.

One way to get PPE use on track is to partner with a staffing firm to complete a site safety evaluation and determine how much equipment is needed. This step enables decision makers to know they have what employees need.

3. Get on the same page with your benefits partner.
Investing in employee health takes forethought and planning. To ensure that your company can offer telemedicine for employees, work with your benefits provider to determine whether it’s a viable option.

If your carrier offers telemedicine, work with them to find ways to provide the service in times of need or crisis. If not, look into other vendors to find a plan or package that aligns with your desired spend. Before you present anything to policyholders, you’ll want to research and analyze various telemedicine plans for employees thoroughly.

4. Don’t let communication slide.
Most successful business continuity plans hinge on reliable communication. Build up your plan’s strength by making communication a priority throughout.

In the case of providing telemedicine for employees, you could build emails, webinars, and educational sessions designed to inform employees of their options. Make this communication timely, transparent, and consistent to ensure people can quickly adapt to any new health benefits and safety protocols.

Employees can’t take their health for granted, and neither should their employers. With telemedicine, employees can receive convenient healthcare that doesn’t cost a lot in terms of money or productivity. Adopt or refine current telemedicine protocols to make it clear to team members that your company will never stop investing in employee health.

This article was originally shared on HR.com.

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