If competitive market pressures weren’t challenging enough for U.S. companies, then the Affordable Care Act’s “employer mandate” only served to deepen corporate America’s emphasis on cost control and cost reduction.
A remote patient monitoring program, known as telemonitoring, using digital technologies can reduce corporate healthcare costs, as well as improve employee productivity and absenteeism. Employees who take advantage of remote patient monitoring technology require fewer visits to emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, and physicians’ offices. According to a 2012 Brigham Young University study, the impact to an organization’s bottom line could be dramatic. That study of nearly 20,000 employees reported that “total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77% of all such loss and costs employers two to three times more than annual healthcare expenses.”
The Potential Savings are Tremendous
Numerous other studies have shown that paid time off to address employee issues associated with chronic problems such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, and insomnia cost employers hundreds of billions of dollars each year. In fact, a 2014 Towers Watson study reported that telemonitoring benefits could help employers save more than $6 billion annually and, in 2015, a follow-up study reported that more than 80% of employers were considering offering telemonitoring benefits within three years.
Where, employers are asking, are these savings, and how does a remote patient monitoring program contain healthcare costs? Here are four ways telemonitoring programs drives down healthcare costs.
- As employees access telehealth services, office co-pays and associated claim costs are eliminated.
- Time away from the job is reduced, which reduces absenteeism and improves productivity.
- Because telehealth is generally available around the clock, emergency care and urgent care visits are reduced, along with their related claims.
- For employees with chronic conditions who are actively being monitored and managed by a telemonitoring service, E.R. visits, hospitalizations, and re-hospitalizations are all reduced, which has a dramatic, positive impact on the company’s healthcare costs – especially for self-insured employers.
A Viable Strategy
Telehealth has been shown to achieve not only measurable, cost-effective results, but also improve the health outcomes for patients with chronic conditions. Employers, especially those that are self-funded and looking for ways to decrease corporate healthcare costs, reduce absenteeism, improve employee productivity, while helping employees save money and time on their own out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, would do well to consider telemonitoring as a valuable component of their overall benefits plan design.
About Karen Thomas
Karen Thomas is a certified management accountant and the president of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions, one of the leading telehealth monitoring companies in the U.S. Karen is a nationally renowned speaker, a lecturer for Missouri State University’s graduate-level Health Care Administration program, and a contributing author to, “Home Telehealth: Connecting Care Within the Community,” published by Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd. Karen has appeared on numerous webinars and has spoken at dozens of conferences on the benefits of remote patient monitoring, generating enhanced clinical outcomes, patient engagement, and coordination of care. She is a member of the Missouri Governors Innovation Task Force, a past board member of the National Association for Home Care and Private Duty Home Care Association, a member of the American Telemedicine Association and the American Society on Aging, and a past ex-officio member of the advisory board of HealthCare Technology Association of America.