The COVID-19 pandemic has created a high demand for digital healthcare solutions and systems. Here’s how that affects employee benefits.
The exponential advancement of technology has left no industry untouched. In 2020 when nearly everything in our lives went remote, digital healthcare resources thrived.
While digital healthcare solutions and systems are nothing new, the ways that they’re infiltrating workplace benefits is. Especially as so many abruptly left the office life in March of 2020 as healthcare needs increased and have continued to skyrocket as a result of the lingering pandemic, savvy small businesses have been taking note of the various ways that these new modes of healthcare can factor into their employees’ lives — especially when it comes to the workplace benefits they’re offered.
Savvy small businesses have been taking note of the various ways that these new modes of healthcare can factor into their employees’ lives — especially when it comes to the workplace benefits they’re offered.
Digital healthcare means more unique benefit options
The biggest thing to take away from the move to digital health solutions, especially considering the wave of remote healthcare that has characterized 2020, is that it means a broader set of options that employers can offer as part of their employee benefits.
Gone are the days when health benefits simply meant health insurance plans. Today, thanks to digital healthcare solutions and systems, everything from buying wearable technology (think FitBits) with healthcare savings account (HSA) funds to subscriptions to mindfulness apps like Headspace are all part of what healthcare benefits can look like for workers today.
When it comes to small businesses in particular — especially those that aren’t required to offer health insurance to their workers under the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, sometimes referred to as Obamacare) — digital healthcare options offer unique ways to offer some health-focused solutions to employees.
For those that do offer traditional health insurance benefits, it’s an opportunity to add additional bonuses to the mix, which can make employers stand out among the crowd, especially when looking to recruit younger talent.
Digital healthcare systems dovetail with an increasing focus on workplace health
Health and wellness has been a booming industry in recent years, from yoga studios and Crossfit gyms on seemingly every urban corner to Instagram influencers all over social media. The trend has also translated into the workplace.
A February 2020 survey from Mercer found that a broad focus on health has been permeating workplace cultures. Ninety-four percent of employer respondents said that their organization will invest at least the same amount, if not more, in health and wellbeing initiatives over the next 5 years.
Digital healthcare solutions offer a way for employers to not only meet the company culture demands of the modern workplace, but also close the gap between perception and reality when it comes to investments in employee health.
However, just 52% of employee respondents said that they feel like their employer cares about its workers. Digital healthcare solutions offer a way for employers to not only meet the company culture demands of the modern workplace, but also close the gap between perception and reality when it comes to investments in employee health.
Offering specific digital healthcare options based on your employees’ specific needs and desires is one way to begin to close that gap and show that you take their health seriously. From app-based therapy services to subsidies for digital nutrition or workout solutions, the best thing about digital healthcare solutions for employers is that there are so many that it’s practically impossible not to find the offering that your workers are looking for.
Digital health solutions can come with access issues that employers should address
The thing to keep in mind as you venture into considering and offering digital healthcare solutions to your workforce is the access issue.
Sure, younger generations of digital natives have an inherent understanding of all things technical and can easily get on board with digital healthcare systems, but the same isn’t true for everyone.
From the increased struggle that can come with navigating new technologies to the fact that smartphones or updated home computer systems are pretty much a requirement for digital health access, access can be a challenge. You’ll want to be sure that all of your employees can access your offerings, whether that means offering lunch and learn trainings or making a company iPad available for use to those who might not have the necessary tech at home.