A new study has confirmed what many of us have already experienced -- you can wait a long time to get an appointment with a doctor in this country, especially if you live in a big city. As more Americans gain insurance, wait-times will only get worse. A couple of strategies that address this issue are likely to gain in popularity as a result. For employers with a critical mass of workers at a single location, the most cost-efficient way to provide convenient access to preventive and minor acute care may be through an onsite clinic. Mercer's latest survey found that 17% of all large employers (those with 500 or more employees) now offer an onsite clinic that provides primary care. Telemedicine (phone or web-based consultations with health care providers) is currently offered by just 11% of large employers, but is likely to grow quickly -- an additional 28% say they are considering it. Not only can remote consultations be a huge timesaver for employees, it can save money for employers by helping to bring down unnecessary emergency room utilization as well. Telemedicine is also a good idea for employers sponsoring high deductible health plans as it offers employees and their families access to care at a much lower price than a doctor office visit.
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