Telemedicine is a growing trend around the world, particularly in the United States. Since most people have a smartphone with them all the time, and actually going to the doctor’s office is time consuming and expensive, many people are turning to digital diagnosis for their more mundane medical problems. The latest industry looking to jump on the telemedicine train is workers comp.
Telemedicine brings a lot of advantages to a workers comp setting. It can be effective in both rural and urban settings, which is ideal for a company who has workers spread across the country. It can also allow an employee to receive immediate treatment in the workplace, which can often result in that employee getting back to work more quickly than if they had had to physically go to a doctors office.
The AF Group, the parent organization of a group of workers’ comp carriers that together provide coverage in all 50 U.S. states, started rolling out telemedicine initiatives a few years ago. Dr. Dan Hunt spoke with the Insurance Journal about how their telemedicine services have been received. According to Dr. Hunt the use of telemedicine will become “very standard within the workers’ compensation industry” in the coming years.
It’s a win-win situation for workers since they are usually given the choice of telemedical treatment or scheduling an appointment in an actual brick-and-mortar location. The data shows that people who use telemedicine tend to opt for it more in the future.
Many people initially shy away from telemedicine services because they think that the care they will receive might be inferior to that of a traditional doctor’s office visit. As it turns out, the opposite is true. Since the medical professionals that offer telemedical services tend to be known entities, and there telemedical services are always monitored for accuracy and quality of care.
While telemedicine still seems to be in the early-adoption phase, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that sometime everyone in the future will start with a virtual appointment before going to an actual doctors office for follow-up, or even post-op care.