Whether it’s a web portal, wellness program, or telemedicine, utilization is key! Utilization is what determines ROI and measures the success of your program.
The third-party wellness and telemedicine programs offered in our web portal are the same programs BMA uses in our staff’s employee benefits package. Recently, BMA reached 50% utilization of the telemedicine service, a very high rate compared to the typical 5 – 10% utilization in the industry. Besides this, telemedicine saved us more than $12,000 in copays and lost productivity.
As our fellow employers also try to drive telemedicine adoption and use, we wanted to share some hints and tips for what has worked for us. Here are BMA’s top 4 tactics for driving strong telemedicine utilization.
Once a year, BMA does an orientation for its employees to review the non-insurance benefits available to them. This includes wellness and of course telemedicine. We do this orientation well after the open enrollment period so employees can focus on the telemedicine program specifically. We explain how the program works, the benefits of using it, and how to access the telemedicine portal. Also, each employee walks away with a flyer about the telemedicine service. As new employees come on board, this same education is a standard part of new hire orientation. This process has helped maintain employee awareness and understanding of the value of telemedicine.
Most telemedicine companies provide communication materials that can be used throughout the year to promote and remind employees about the service. Make a point of distributing them during key times of the year. When it’s allergy season and people are sniffling, we post our allergy season telemedicine flyer and leave one at everyone’s desk. When kids are heading back to school, we hang up the back-to-school flyer. This helps employees tie key events to scenarios when they could benefit from the use of telemedicine.
Select a person or persons within the organization who are going to be the designated telemedicine champions. These folks are responsible for reminding staff about the availability of the service and reasons to use it. When an employee talks about his sick daughter, the champion would say “Don’t forget you can use telemedicine!” When an employee thinks she’s coming down with something, the champion says “Try out telemedicine!” Telemedicine champions will also distribute flyers or emails received from the telemedicine vendor to employees. Champions encourage employees to use telemedicine as a first line of defense, creating a mindset that telemedicine is the first stop when sickness arises.
The telemedicine portal has some obvious advantages such as updating one’s health profile or scheduling an appointment. However, one less obvious (and probably more important) advantage is that it enables ongoing reminders. When employees use their email to create their telemedicine portal account, they’ll then receive email reminders to use the service. This ultimately takes weight off your shoulders in promoting the service and keeps employees more engaged with what the service has to offer.
These tactics have greatly helped BMA in driving high adoption and use of telemedicine, and we’re really excited about the high utilization we’ve seen. However, what’s also exciting is the number of urgent care/ER visits and absenteeism that were avoided because employees chose to use telemedicine first.
And by the way, we really are happy with the telemedicine vendor we’re using, and it’s already plugged into our portal. If you’d like to learn about adding it for your organization, contact us.