An interesting article published on Associated Press by Tom Murphy talks about how telemedicine has been a big challenge for employers. A challenge because even though most of their employees are aware of this service, they don’t take advantage of it.

 

For those who are not familiar, telemedicine is a virtual medical tool that allows patients to talk to doctors remotely via their smartphones and tablets, either through call or video. This service allows people to get easily treated and prescribed all from the comfort of their homes, office, or while traveling, for a very low cost, or even completely free.

 

When you read about telemedicine, it sounds like such a new and exciting, high-tech way to get treated, yet why are employers struggling so much to convince people to use it?

 

Humans are creatures of habit, so once they form a habit, it’s really hard to break from it. That’s the case for employees, whom are all used to physically going to the doctor’s office. According to Tom and Mercer, consulting firm, “80% of midsize and large US companies offered telemedicine to their employees in 2018, yet only 8% used it at least once the year prior.” Interestingly enough, patients that did give it a shot see the value in the service and become repeat customers. So, it’s just a matter of pushing them to give it a first try.

 

Some of the ways that employers can nudge employees to start using telemedicine:

  • Create a company-wide telemedicine campaign – this campaign should revolve around how trustworthy, convenient, and affordable the service is.
  • Host a telemedicine workshop or webinar showing an employee using the virtual service
  • Reward employees who use telemedicine – offer giveaways or small gifts to employees who enroll in the service

 

Changing employees’ behavior towards telemedicine requires big effort, but employers and their HR department have to continue powering through, showing enthusiasm, and educating workers in order to reduce the uncertainty. Once employees feel that trust, especially on behalf of their employer, they will be able to embrace telemedicine.