In 2017 we saw an evolution in how employees are seeking care.
Aligned with a recent National Business Group on Health study that indicates that 96% of large employers are now offering some level of telehealth benefits today, more and more employees were engaging with telehealth in 2017 and learning firsthand that they could receive quality care while saving time and money.
(Related: 7 Important Florida Telehealth Discoveries)
Consider that it was only four years earlier, in 2013, when the National Business Group on Health/Towers Watson survey of large employers showed just 23% of large employers implementing telehealth.
With this rate of change, it leaves many – including benefits brokers and employers – wondering what to expect in 2018. Read on, for eight predictions for virtual care delivery in 2018:
1. Telehealth grows up, and it’s powerful.
While many are now familiar with the role telehealth for treating episodic needs like cold & flu and upper respiratory infections, in 2018 we will see expansion to a more comprehensive virtual care delivery platform that will grow in breadth to include a full spectrum of medical conditions, ranging from episodic needs, to behavioral health and chronic, complicated medical conditions like heart disease and cancer. Also expect expansive clinical services ranging from expert second opinions to the use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to proactively identify patients in need of intervention.
2. Payers raise expectations, unlocking the full value of virtual healthcare delivery.
It’s no secret that today’s healthcare system is focused on value. Payers in particular will be looking to maximize value from telehealth, seeking not just financial savings, but increased engagement and satisfaction, and improved health outcomes. Thanks to advancements in technology and in data and analytics, the value of virtual care delivery will accelerate in 2018.
3. Utilization takes center stage as digital health adoption approaches mainstream.
Ninety% of adults under the age of 65 have smartphones today, and 2/3 of Americans either have or are open to using mobile health apps to manage their health. As more employees become aware of telehealth through innovative marketing strategies, mobile technology will drive engagement and utilization, especially as vendors focus on delivering patient-centric systems.
4. Virtual healthcare delivery tackles the largest cost drivers. Finally.
Diagnosing and treating chronic conditions is expensive and eats up approximately 84% of health care dollars in the U.S. alone.