Leveraging Telemedicine for Behavioral Health

Employers are moving quickly to add telemedicine services to provide employees with an alternative to the traditional care delivery model. Our recent survey found that 30% of large employers now offer telemedicine, up from just 18% last year. Telemedicine is most commonly used for medical care, but it can also be utilized for behavioral health care. One example highlighted in a recent Washington Post article describes a situation in which the behavioral health televisit actually takes place during a patient’s primary care visit, allowing the primary care provider, the behavioral health provider, and in this case even a separate psychiatrist, to coordinate care for the individual. The convenience afforded by telemedicine is perhaps even a bigger boon with behavioral health care, considering that there are fewer behavioral health providers available than primary care providers; patients may have to wait longer for appointments and travel further to find the appropriate provider. In addition, given that behavioral health visits tend to be ongoing, the opportunity for cost savings is amplified. If your telemedicine program also covers behavioral health, it’s also important to let employees know how they can benefit from using it for these services as well as for medical care.

Go to full article: washingtonpost.com

Beth Umland
by Beth Umland

Director of Research, Health, Mercer

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