Name a rapidly expanding healthcare industry offering care that’s convenient, fast, and relatively low cost. “Urgent care” is the easy answer, so if you said “telemedicine” you get bonus points. National Business Group (NBG) predicted months ago that employers would continue warming to the idea and that many more would start offering telemedicine benefits; now it’s confirmed that 74% are doing so, up from 48% just last year. NBG also broke down what employers value in telemedicine—and the list will sound awfully familiar to urgent care veterans:
- Access: Telemedicine enables employees to consult a doctor immediately and easily.
- Convenience: Many telemedicine services are available 24 hours a day (ie, workers can see the doctor after working hours).
- Faster care: Primary care appointments are often days away; virtual visits can take place immediately.
- Lower cost: According to UnitedHealthcare data, the average cost of a virtual visit is less than $50, while a primary care physician visit is approximately $80, and an emergency room visit is $650.
Given a pace of operation that’s already familiar and the growing of acceptance by payers, savvy urgent care operators might want to consider adding a telemedicine element to their offerings.