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Employers Add Telemedicine To Benefits Offerings – But Will Employees Use It?

By Jeff Arnold, CEO and Chairman

A study from professional services firm Towers Watson found that telemedicine has the potential to save employers $6 BILLION a year. While company health benefits increasingly are offering telemedicine options as an alternative to primary care or ER visits, employees have to know those options are available to them AND how to use those technologies. As employers look to roll out these types of services, I think it’s important that they also consider ways to reach their employees through health-related applications they’re already using, rather than having zero adoption – or facing the uphill battle of not only building or integrating these technologies, but also convincing consumers to download yet another app that, quite frankly, they won’t use. At Sharecare, we’re hard at work integrating tried-and-true telemedicine offerings into our existing products, such as our iOS app AskMD, so that together we can reach consumers at the moments when they’re already focusing on their health and wellness. And given innovations on the horizon – like Apple’s HealthKit – developing more seamless integrations with better user experiences is a reality that’s right around the corner. The news from Towers Watson is good for employers and employees alike, but employers have a responsibility to do more than just “check the box” – they need to think about the most effective way to get these benefits into the hands (and smartphones) of their employees.