Telemedicine can be a huge benefit for all employers and their employees. Telemedicine helps employers save money by diverting employee healthcare costs away from expensive options such as the ER or urgent care. And, telemedicine helps employees save time and hassle going back and forth from the doctor’s office, giving them more of their life back — not to mention the savings on their copays.
But telemedicine only works when employees know about the benefit and use it. When employees don’t utilize the benefit, employers see little meaningful savings, and fewer employees reap the benefits of saved time and money.
As all HR professionals know, getting employees to use telemedicine — or any benefit — takes time and a thorough engagement strategy.
Here’s how to get employees to use telemedicine.
Work with the Telemedicine Provider
The best telemedicine providers work with employers to strategize and develop a plan for success. Before selecting a telemedicine provider, employers should ask whether employee engagement is part of the vendor’s offering. If not, employers must know that they will need to do the majority of the heavy lifting to drive engagement.
If the employer is spearheading engagement, the telemedicine provider should send necessary assets, such as program details and their logo, for the employer to use as they develop content. If the telemedicine provider is going to be responsible for engagement, the employer will want to have a clear understanding of what their expectations should be.
No new endeavor is complete without a detailed plan and goals.
Consider the following goals:
- Utilization rate
- Number of consultations
- Total savings
- Savings per doctor consult
Set the Message
Employers might think the message is simple: Use telemedicine, and save time and money. But getting in front of employees — and more importantly, earning their attention — takes much more work.
For example, employers need to know their employee personas: white collar, blue collar, age, location, gender, family status, etc.
They also need to know their employees’ health needs. These vary by season — flu season in the winter, allergies in the spring — but also by location. For example, allergies hit different areas of the country at different times.
Other demographic factors include gender (for diseases common to men or women, such as UTIs), family status (back-to-school, spring break travel) and industry (muscle aches for industrial workers).
That means employers need to create messages targeted by location, persona and time of year, among other things.
Create a Plan & Get To Work
Next, either on their own or working with the vendor, employers should create a detailed employee engagement plan. HR should consider the message and medium they will use to reach employees, as well as create a timeline for deployment. These messages should account for employee personas, common employee health issues and seasonal health topics. If employers are working with a more sophisticated provider, they will likely have state-of-the-art tools that allow for a more integrated and complex communication strategy.
Consider these various mediums to get the word out:
- In-office chat
- Flyers and posters
- Air fresheners
- Branded health items, such as tissue, hand sanitizer and digital thermometers
- And more
Let’s say there’s a large national retailer which is trying to get the word out about its new telemedicine service to its corporate and retail employees. These employees range from 18 years old to near retirement, and include white-collar and blue-collar workers.
The retailer may decide to send an email blast to the entire company upon onboarding their new telemedicine, as well as targeted monthly communications. These communications are segmented by five employee personas.
Then, they may hang up posters about their telemedicine in the breakroom of their retail locations, and put magnets on their office refrigerators and on the doors of the bathroom stalls.
Each employee is also sent a welcome kit complete with a letter, wallet card and key tag. That way, when employees are sick, they’ll remember their telemedicine provider first.