Today’s employers recognize that workers have many stressors in their lives that often are not immune to the workplace. The cost of not addressing these conditions and situations is really starting to add up for organizations throughout the U.S. One study estimated that undiagnosed or delayed identification of depression, which effects one in four employees costs employers approximately $3,000 over a two-year period prior to a diagnosis.
Behavioral Health Challenges
Many employers have behavioral health benefits and employee assistance programs (EAPs) in place, yet workers often do not utilize these traditional approaches. Employees often have very hectic work/life schedules and need better convenience and coordination of care from this type of benefit. Improvement in access to care has been helped by the increase of telemedicine, which experts estimate will be offered by 90% of employers by 2018.
This is leading to the emergence of telepsychiatry as an option for overcoming current challenges and increasing behavioral health utilization in the workplace. The ability to make psychiatric services available over the Internet or videoconferencing means employees can receive the services they need conveniently, effectively and within a comfortable realm of privacy.
An August Benefit Magazine article offers four positive aspects of telepsychiatry that employers should consider in order to provide a more robust suite of employee health and wellbeing benefits.
Workers have the ability to schedule appointments outside of the usual workweek and only need access to the Internet via a computer, smartphone or tablet to receive services.
Expanded Access to Care
Easier access to help could encourage employees to seek out care sooner rather than later. Plus, for remote workers or those that travel frequently or those with nonstandard hours, telepsychiatry offers an easy and regular way to “see” behavioral health providers.
Protection and Privacy
Online sessions offer confidentiality as they eliminate waiting rooms and can be less intimidating to patients who find office settings difficult.
High-Quality Care Delivered
Telepsychiatry is supported by all national health care associations and the American Psychiatry Association. It has been proven to deliver high-quality care, meeting the standards of traditional in-person services for diagnostic accuracy, treatment effectiveness, quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Source: Benefits Magazine. Telepsychiatry: Delivering Convenient and Private Behavioral Health Services. August 2017. PP29-32.