URGENT CARE HEALTH BENEFITS WHAT CAN TELEHEALTH PROVIDE WHILE IMPROVING YOUR COMPANIES EMPLOYEE BENEFITS AT THE SAME TIME THEIR PATIENT SATISFACTION SCORES

The surge of people using Telehealth to get Urgent Care Health Benefits is a reflects people in Ohio recognizing a convenient and time-saving way for them to get their healthcare

Urgent Care Center health can range for treatment of the Common cold, Influenza (Flu symptoms), and provides for a confidential way for people to see a licensed Ohio Physician for many other day-to-day health issues. But also, the consumer satisfaction levels for people using Telehealth is showing that people are delighted once they try Telemedicine. J.D. Power released a consumer satisfaction report by users of Telehealth in October 2019. The report shows that those consumers using Telehealth report their satisfaction levels with experience are high, nearly half (46%) out of a total of 1,000 surveyed, scored it 900 points or more. Those consumer satisfaction scores are among the highest in the healthcare industry as a whole! (Greg Truex, 2019)

Many Ohio Employers that are also looking to find alternative ways to offer Employee benefits and avoid the steep cost that comes with purchasing traditional health insurance

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation Market Place, Average Benchmark for Ohio health insurance premiums in Ohio is averaging $375 for an Individual. For 2020 this represents a “6.3% increase from 2019 (Norris, 2019)”. Ohio Employers and Ohio residents are looking for a much-needed way to increased access to health benefits that is convenient and time for their schedules. However, an emerging company in the exciting area of online Urgent Care Center health benefits is providing Employers with a cutting edge solution in the area of health benefits.  Drexly Health is now offering both individuals and Employer Groups a virtual health benefit in the field of Telehealth or Telemedicine. Companies that are unable to afford the high cost of insurance or even those organizations that do offer coverage for their employees but come with excessive Urgent Care Center and Doctor Visits Co-pays.

Urgent Care Center Health Benefits have synergy for both Employers and the Employees that receive Employee benefits

Drexly Health, provides a convenient, efficient, and affordable way for Ohio residents to see a doctor when they need it most or at the right time to fit their busy schedules. Drexly Health offers a Subscription-based health benefit product at minimal cost that is ideal for large and small Employer Groups. 

  • Small Employer Groups that can’t afford the cost of expensive health insurance Employee benefits. It can offer their Employees health that allows them to access a licensed Physician that balances their healthcare needs with busy work-life schedules.  It is not uncommon, for an Employer to designate a private on-site location for their employees to complete a regular visit that would otherwise cost them a half or full day of missed work.
  • 24 hour/7 days a week, a patient can access a licensed Physician not only in Ohio but anywhere they may go nationwide.
  • Drexly Health Members can sign-in and request to see a Physician in at least Four-hours (often sooner).  But also, can schedule non-urgent visits at a time of their convenience for such things as medication refills. Drexly Health Members can see a doctor anytime, anywhere –for just $25 per visit. Those on Health Savings Accounts can utilize this benefit to reduce or avoid the often-costly co-pays for a local Ohio Urgent Care Center, doctor visits, or Retail Clinic.
  • Good Rx Discount Program comes as part of the members subscription which allows for them to see an Online Physician and be prescribed to their Pharmacy of choice for medications for the Common cold, High Blood Pressure medications such as Lisinopril, and avoid expensive online companies that lure patients into overly priced Viagra or Sildenafil treatment and refills. Check out the article from GoodRx on “How to Save on Viagra (Sildenafil) With or Without Insurance” (Lee, 2020) written by Benita Lee, MPH (LinkedIn), who is on the Research Team at GoodRx

Patients/Consumers Survey Shows Consumers are Extremely Satisfied one they try Telehealth

J.D. Power found that only one out of 10 patients have used Telehealth in the past year. Urgent care was the primary driver, along with other low acuity types of healthcare issues like Sinusitis, medication refill requests.

One of the most revealing results of the study was that 51% of those consumers/patients rate telehealth a more personal visit with their doctor than a traditional office visit (Greg Truex, Managing Director, Health Intelligence, 2019).

With Consumer Satisfaction Scores So High, Why Isn’t Everyone Using It? – Because they were not aware

“Only 17.2% of consumers are aware that their health system or insurance provider offers Telehealth or Virtual Health as an alternative as an alternative to a doctor’s office, hospital, emergency room, or urgent care clinic visit”.

Greg Truex, Director - J.D. Power Tweet

J.D. Power further found that of “lack awareness around access to services Telehealth health” (Director, Greg Truex – Managing, 2019) benefits such as those found in Urgent Care Centers, walk-in clinics, or a PCP office was the most common reason given by those surveyed.   This is where an organization such as Drexly Health benefits program focused on Urgent Care benefits can make a real difference.  When a Drexly Health subscriber is looking for Ohio health services, they have access to a Physician 24 hours a day/7 day a week, even if they are at home, running between meetings or picking up their kids for school. 

Is the Quality of healthcare done with Telehealth the same as a face-to-face visit?

Urgent Care Telehealth

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What is quality-based evidence care? The World Health Organization WHO defines it as “The quality of evidence is defined as the confidence that the reported estimates of effect are adequate to support a specific recommendation. … The higher the quality of evidence, the more likely a strong recommendation can be made.” (World Health Organization, 2013)

Examples where Telehealth Urgent Care Center health benefits that have been found to improve the quality of health for patients include:

The Benefits of Telehealth Urgent Care Center Health Benefits For Patients

The Northwest Telehealth Resource Center, a non-for profit “organization that provides technical assistance in developing Telehealth networks… to serve rural and underserved communities” (Northwest Telehealth Resource Center.org, n.d.)

  • Travel to distant specialists is not necessary when Telehealth is used. That means patients can save the cost of travel, the expense of staying in the ‘big city,’ if the distance is such that an overnight stay is necessary
  • The danger of traveling in winter weather is removed
  • Patients don’t need to take whole days off work to see a specialist or to take their children to the doctor
  • Children miss less school when they can be seen via Telehealth
  • Patients can receive care rather than foregoing treatment to save time and money
  • Patients avoid unnecessary Emergency Costs (Average Emergency Room Visit in 2017 was $1,389) and Average Urgent Care Center Cost of $155 in 2017.
  • Drexly Health is only $25 per Physician Visit

Drexly Health Can be Used to treat many of the most common conditions

What if Your Employed, Have Insurance, And Are Laid Off in Ohio?

Most of us have heard the horror stories of they or their friends or family members lose their job through a company laying employees off, or even worse, a company closing down completely.  They are left with two options, purchase Continuation of Health Coverage – COBRA or go without health benefits.  For example, just last year in Lordstown, Ohio, the General Motors Chevy Cruz plant closed its doors entirely.  The result, according to Julia Horowitz, Senior Business Writer, CNN Business was that 1,435 Employees lost their jobs  (Julia Horowitz, Senior Business Writer, CNN Business, 2019)

These Employees Benefits that provided reasonable Physician Office co-pays, and co-insurance deductibles now were offered the “option” to purchase, through COBRA, their healthcare insurance coverage at the below rates from – “$762 for an Individual up to Family of $2,161.50 per month” per the Ohio Department of Administrative Services for 2020 (Ohio Department of Administrative Services, 2019)

COBRA Rates July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020 – Monthly Rates

 

Plan TypePlan and/or ProviderSingleFamily Plus Spouse

 

Medical*

Ohio Med PPO

(Includes Medical Mutual of Ohio & Anthem administered plans)

 

$782.45

 

$2,161.50

 

Medical*

Ohio Med HDHP

(Includes Medical Mutual of Ohio & Anthem administered plans

 

$716.97

 

$2,148.91

 

 

 

The Ohio Telehealth Initiative (OTI) is a non-profit organization with the mission to promote telehealth and telehealth solutions in Ohio to deliver higher quality healthcare for more, with lower costs and risks (Ohio Telehealth Initiative, n.d.).

OTI states that Employees Benefits can be improved for both Private and Public Employers to point out the Telehealth that results in better health and value for their employees (Ohio Telehealth Initiative, n.d.)

According to the Ohio State Hospital Association, consumers using telehealth services in Ohio resulted in “… increased access to care, lowered costs, improved patient satisfaction, and, most importantly, improved clinical outcomes (Ohio Hospital Association, 2018).

Potentially preventable emergency room visits accounted for in the State of Rhode Island a total cost of $90.3 Million annually (State Department of Rhode Island, n.d.).

A Physician Office could have treated these potentially avoidable Emergency Room visits, Urgent Care Center or through an Urgent Care Center health benefits program such as through Drexly Health

The below graph from the Rhode Island Report on potentially avoidable Emergency Room Visits (State Department of Rhode Island, n.d.)


The Ways Telehealth Benefits Private or Public Employers

Top 15 Potentially Preventable Reason for Emergency Room Visits

To further drill down on the data, a report from Medica Choice Network for nine of the most common reason people visit the Emergency Room evaluated the average cost Emergency Room and Urgent Care Centers.   

Telehealth gives patients free access to physicians around the clock, allowing employees to make connections via phone, video, or over the Internet 24 hours a day for all seven days of the week. Telehealth services employ intuitive online systems for ease of use and simple navigation.

Cost Estimates for Emergency Rooms vs. Urgent Care Centers (Debt.org, n.d.)

ConditionEmergency Room CostUrgent Care Cost
Allergies$345$97
Acute Bronchitis$595$127
Earache$400$110
Sore Throat$525$94
Pink Eye$370$102
Sinusitis$617$112
Strep Throat$531$111
Upper Respiratory Infection$486$111
Urinary Tract Infection$665$112

For a Subscriber to the Drexly Health – Telehealth Urgent health benefits coverage plan, all of those services would cost the patient a flat $25.00 per visit.

If a patient had been enrolled in one of the Drexly Health health benefits plans, they would have saved as much at $592 for a similar virtual visit.

The convenience of Telehealth saves you and your employees time by cutting out travel and sitting in waiting rooms. It also limits the need to take time off of work to fit an employee’s ailments into a doctor’s schedule and cuts down for employees costly co-pays.

The convenience and easy access to health consumers are starting to be recognized and embrace by consumers looking for a lower-cost alternative to access their health benefits

“The State of Telehealth 2019: Tremendous Growth..” by the “American Medical Association

A February 22, 2019 “The State of Telehealth 2019: Tremendous Growth..” by the “American Medical Association, estimates that 7 Million people would use Telehealth services in 2018, with 65% of interaction being done on mobile phones” (Source, 2019)

The graph below, from the American Medical Association, shows that Telehealth has snowballed from 2010-2017 (Source, 2019)


Use of Telehealth in Hospitals

This data is starting to confirm that patients are beginning to find Telehealth to be a viable alternative to the traditional face-to-face visits from the past. Telehealth is redefining “walk-in” to be that of not going to the local urgent care centers or retail clinics, and they are simply turning to their computer or smartphone and connecting with a provider at a time and location convenient to them.

Telehealth Technology apps

Yes, one could validly point out that Urgent Care and Retail Clinic utilization helps to reduce Emergency Room utilization to which many would agree. Also, referring back to the J.D. Power report on consumer satisfaction with Telehealth, it could facilitate employee satisfaction as well.

About the Author: Eric Haden is the President of Drexly Health Solutions and besides Telehealth has over 30 Years of experience in development of integrated delivery of care models across the U.S. and Internationally.