Poor Communication Drives Low Employee “Telehealth” Adoption Rates

Poor Communication Drives Low Employee “Telehealth” Adoption Rates

The Washington Hospitality Association has developed a raft of potent Healthcare Solutions for hospitality businesses across the state.  By visiting Washington Hospitality Healthcare Solutions webpage, members can explore options for individual, small, medium, and large organizations. Our mission is to help hospitality succeed.


High deductible plans (HDHP) are becoming more attractive to employers. Mainly because they afford more choice to consumers looking to mitigate health care costs. Which are rising. There is a catch though, a quarter of people with HDHP’s avoid medical treatment to avoid the high up front costs of high deductible plans. Many are front line workers in hospitality.

As a result, owners and operators are looking to brokers to provide guidance on cost containment, while at the same time providing imaginative ways to meet the needs of their employees. The Washington Hospitality Association has identified telemedicine (along with online medical consultation for employees) as a creative solution. The association is encouraging hotels and restaurants to adopt “Teladoc” as a part of their benefits packages in 2018.

Currently, about seventy percent of employers in the nation provide some sort of coverage for digital health services, but sadly only about three percent of employees use them. That’s a problem, and increased adoption rates by employees have been shown to significantly decrease upfront costs and time loss. So, if this is the case, why are implementation rates so low? It’s because offering the benefit is not enough, the strategy must also include engagement and communications tactics.

In a nutshell, this means that employers should focus on work force education. If you are relying on your once a year open enrollment meeting, that wont do it. Successful employers have implemented education year-round and utilized tools and reminders in break rooms and staff areas. Employees will not move to doctor’s visits by smartphone unless they have a genuine and complete view of what digital health services can offer. If you want employees to adopt, you have to organize a cultural shift in your business. You need to be your programs chief marketer.

In today’s national health care Insurance ecosystem, there is a lot more decision making required by  workers, yet two years ago over eighty-five percent of people with health insurance could not explain the concepts of deductibles, co pays, co-insurance and out of pocket maximums. Educating employees is the start.  It’s the only way it works, but when it does, the savings are measurable and significant for all parties.

Choosing the media channel, you use to connect with employees can have generational implications. Millennials love video, text messages, and social media. Boomers like information face to face; lunch presentations, and benefit fairs do well. Remote employees like landing pages, and newsletters that bring them into the office fold. The main message here is that one kind of media does not fill all generations.  Use them all, and target your information channels at the people who use them.

To that end, the message must also be tailored. One incentive does not fit all. What each message must include is the “what’s in it for me” consideration. Your message must include explanations of the benefits of digital health services as they apply to specific audiences.  Perhaps it’s the money saving aspect of telehealth. Perhaps time is the most important commodity to another subset of your worker population.  You need messages that address both.

The telemedicine market is poised to grow as more employers, brokers and employees are willing to consider a more convenient and inexpensive care option. If you’re paying for and offering the solution, making sure it serves its purpose starts with adoption. Whether convincing employees to adopt telemedicine through personalized communication or educating through video, articulating the value of benefits in a way that employees understand will persuade them to act.

by David Faro


The Washington Hospitality Association has developed a raft of potent Healthcare Solutions for hospitality businesses across the state.  By visiting Washington Hospitality Healthcare Solutions webpage, members can explore options for individual, small, medium, and large organizations. Our mission is to help hospitality succeed.

Read more