The Future of Healthcare: Virtual Solutions for Small Business

By Darryl Baker, Chief Financial Officer of Redirect health.

For many companies, offering healthcare services to employees is a challenge at best, and impossible at worst. In the past 10 years, health care costs have grown twice as fast as workers’ wages. In the past, countless employers have faced the fact that providing health services to workers has not always been a viable option.

Then came 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way industry does business, and healthcare was no exception. Suddenly, a more efficient and affordable, but far less common option – virtual health care – went from a rarity to a necessity. A seismic shift occurred in the market overnight. Healthcare providers who already offer virtual care were ahead of the game.

By embedding the coordination of virtual care and virtual medical advice into their care approach, employer-sponsored health plans can significantly reduce costs by ensuring that employees and their families have access to care in the right place, at the right time, and at the right time get the right price you need. By significantly reducing care costs, companies that previously could not afford employee health insurance plans now have more options.

Employer-sponsored virtual care health plans provide a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent that is directly related to financial success. Emerging from the pandemic, companies are struggling to rebuild their workforce. There is a labor shortage everywhere you look, especially in industries like transportation, construction, retail, hospitality and restaurants. In the near future, this labor shortage is likely to lead to higher wages. To stay competitive in the longer term, employers need to offer a wide variety of incentives to workers, with healthcare at the top of that list. If companies can offer affordable healthcare solutions, it is a win-win situation. All of the benefits employees receive from employers add to the “stickiness” of that employee. Employees are more likely to remain loyal to the company, and the organization, in turn, retains valuable talent.

In addition, by encouraging employees to use virtual primary health care, including mental and behavioral health services that are viewed as routine maintenance of health, more expensive and disastrous health situations can be prevented, resulting in healthier people and lower overall health care costs.

The market is rapidly adapting to include virtual primary health care. Big players are jumping on board right now. Amazon recently announced the launch of Amazon Carethat provides fast, comprehensive and 24/7 basic and emergency care for employees and their families. JPMorgan Chase recently announced the launch of Morgan Health, which focuses on improving the quality, efficiency, and equity of employer-sponsored health care.

As large companies take the lead and lead by example, the market will adapt similar solutions for smaller companies that will contribute to more affordable healthcare for all.

The future of healthcare will move towards virtual care and away from the waste and unnecessary expense inherent in the current system. In its place is a much more consumer-centric approach to healthcare, primarily due to the technology that enables virtual-first-on-demand care. It all comes down to the basics: if you focus on people first, results will improve, quality of life will increase, and costs will decrease.

Darryl Baker is the Chief Financial Officer of Redirect health.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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