Healthcare Technology Featured Article

March 11, 2013

More Companies Offering Telemedicine and Onsite Health Clinics

ScanSource, a technology company offering a number of services including barcode scanning and POS solutions, just announced that they have opened an onsite health clinic on its Greenville, N.C., campus. The clinic will be run in partnership with the Greenville Hospital System.

The ScanSource Wellness Clinic is just one example of how companies have begun to bring onsite clinics and telemedicine into their buildings. Two big reasons, according to Washington Post reporter Sarah Halzack, are to reduce cost and to curb absenteeism.

Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, Md., delivers comprehensive services at its onsite health clinic including physicals, travel immunizations, infertility counseling, weight management programs and pap smears. The company estimates that it will save $2.2 million on healthcare costs this year.

Even small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) are incorporating telemedicine. Hardwood Products & Puritan Medical Products in Guilford, Maine, is a strange-sounding hybrid that manufactures both popsicle sticks and tongue depressors.

Last October, diabetic employees from Hardwood & Puritan received virtual consultations from Dr. Richard Siegel, the co-director of Tufts Medical Center’s Diabetes Center. An onsite nurse joined each employee during his or her consultation.

In the same month, Towers Watson released a report disclosing that 17 percent of midsize and large companies plan to offer telemedicine in 2013, and 27 percent plan to offer it in 2014 and 2015.

“Spending a little bit of money up front to get the telemedicine program … is a value purchase,” Scott Wellman, CFO of Hardwood & Puritan, told the Bangor Daily News. “We’re able to get [employees] their care plan and hopefully prevent major problems down the road that would cost significantly more money.”

A telehealth company called MdMD, profiled last summer by CNBC, provides online examinations for Payroll Experts, a small business from Scottsdale, Ariz. When employees feel like they’re coming down with an illness, they can receive a consultation via videoconferencing from a nurse practitioner.

The nurse practitioner can also call in prescriptions to the employees’ local pharmacies. MeMD estimates that its services can save companies $400 per year per employee.

Not every business can afford an onsite health clinic, and some states, like Texas, do not allow online examinations unless a patient has made an in-person visit to a doctor first.

Still, these solutions will continue to expand, especially as employers begin to perceive them as cost-effective. According to BCC Research, the telemedicine market will hit $27.3 billion by 2016.

Edited by Ashley Caputo
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