Advancement in communication and medical devices has given rise to telemedicine. Telemedicine enables healthcare providers in evaluating, diagnosing and subsequently treating patients who are physically miles away. This has helped patients in having healthcare which is accessible and convenient and also, doctors who have a larger clientele to treat and earn from. Not just that, they have proved to be satisfying for the patients which has resulted in better outcomes.
Telemedicine kiosks are on a rise and are expected to increase from 15,000 in 2015 to over 36,000 by 2020. These kiosks consist of medical screening devices, touchscreens and videoconferencing capabilities which connect telemedicine doctors or nurse practitioners who can then assess the patient and email prescriptions when need be. They are typically used for the same issues that lead people to see a doctor or seek urgent care — colds, sore throats, upper respiratory problems, earaches and pink eye. They’re being installed in various workplaces and are being adopted by companies as big as JetBlue Airways and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
They are becoming more of a need than an additional facility in workplaces and we definitely agree with it. Few reasons why you should have a telemedicine kiosk available at workplace are:
We live in a time where workload is twice or in fact more than it was, say, 10 years ago. With this hustle and bustle, we ignore our health as it requires extra effort as well as time which is not affordable. Telemedicine kiosk, that too at workplace sounds like a solution to the health concerns we’re too busy to address.
Telemedicine kiosks are virtual clinics with all the right devices to help you as, the patient as well as the Doctor, in addressing the problems that you might have. With that, this exercise can conveniently be carried out in your lunch break or even during meetings.
One of the top Telemedicine companies, Kiosk Software provides kiosks that come with the initial cost of $15,000 to $60,000 which results in hefty savings in the long run. The cost per patient using these kiosks turns out to be as low as $15 which is far less than the average cost of an urgent care visit which is that of $50. This cost cut results in the savings of $28,000 a year.
In addition to that, multiple health insurers such as Anthem and United Healthcare have also shown support of the kiosks and are currently testing them at worksites where they have contracts. Also, employees with certain health insurance are even given discounts. For example, at Pacific Gas and Electric Co, if the employee has the Anthem Blue Cross health insurance, patients can be treated for as low as $4.90.
- Better Performance
Healthcare is costly and comes with a lot more documentation from Insurance Companies than it should. This has resulted in people, especially those from working class, keeping them, albeit their health issues, from seeing doctors. With employers providing healthcare, that too at work, has enabled employees to take advantage of cheaper healthcare and be more conscious of their health.
Having kiosks will, undoubtedly, increase the morale of the employees. They will feel more important to the company which will eventually, result in higher productivity and better performance at work. With better performance, the business will be affected positively both in the short and long run.
- Family Inclusivity
Employers also provide the facility of kiosks to not just the employee but also his/her family members as covered by the employee’s insurance. This facility would provide families, especially those with younger members, a relief with respect to finances and lessen their expenses.
Telemedicine Kiosks are being adopted by various companies, setting an example in the corporate world. With that, what must not be overlooked is the hefty initial cost the set up comes with which might not be possible for various employers to bear. Moreover, this facility is great for a quick check-up but it will disrupt work especially when another family member is over.
Furthermore, telemedicine kiosks are fairly high-tech and possibly will require training in order to operate them. This training will not just be expensive but will also be time consuming and disruptive. With that, like most other technological device, it would also have to be upgraded in the future which will open the flood gates of expenses.
It is recommended that one should carry out proper research and weight costs against benefits and then make the decision accordingly.