As the number of cases of COVID-19 in the US continues to build and social distancing becomes ever more urgent, it makes sense for employees to seek medical care remotely through telemedicine services. Given the historically low utilization rate of telemedicine, it’s important that employers ensure employees are aware that this option is available to them and how it might help. Responses to a poll on Mercer’s US Health News website suggests that many companies (69% of respondents) have communicated directly with employees about using telemedicine specifically to limit trips to healthcare providers during this pandemic, and another 15% say that they have not communicated this, but the health plan/telemedicine vendor has done so. Just 15% say they have not communicated nor has their vendor. When asked if utilization of telemedicine services has increased over the past few weeks, most employers (72%) responded that they did not know at this time. However, 16% say there has been an increase while just 12% say there has not – suggesting that telemedicine utilization is on the rise, even if employers don’t have the numbers yet.
Results were based on 26 respondents, mostly from organizations with 500 or more employees.