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March 9 — Thanks to a lot of satisfied employees, telehealth—accessing medical services from remote locations such as the workplace—is gaining popularity among the workforce at Pitney Bowes, Mary Bradley, director of global financial benefits at the Stamford, Conn.-based shipping and mailing services company, said March 5 at the National Business Group on Health's Business Health Agenda conference in Washington.
Pitney Bowes has onsite clinics at five of its locations staffed with clinicians who are available for both in-person and telehealth consults.
“As Pitney Bowes promotes a more agile workforce, clinicians really aren't busy all day, so [telehealth] is a great opportunity to leverage the good work they do out into the field,” Bradley said during a conference session on telehealth.
Bradley explained that the onsite clinicians take turns doing telehealth consults throughout the day. “What that allows them to do is extend the work they are doing in our onsite facilities out to all of our facilities and across the country,” she said.
Although telehealth is a new resource at Pitney Bowes, Bradley said, the company is happy with a utilization rate of about 9 percent, “which keeps growing as we roll out more marketing to employees.”
Bradley told Bloomberg BNA in a March 5 interview after the conference session that employee testimonials have helped increase utilization of telehealth services. “Every chance we can find a champion and publicize employee testimonials, we take advantage of the opportunity,” she said. “That's word of mouth, and we actually say to those champions ‘go tell five people.' ” Bradley added, “Just the fact that a Pitney Bowes employee had a great experience helps other employees feel comfortable.”
Along with the testimonials, she said, webinars that include a demonstration from clinicians of how the service works have been most effective in increasing employee utilization.
According to Bradley, Pitney Bowes telehealth clinicians have done great work with helping employees manage chronic conditions, as well as coaching them with smoking cessation. “Our clinician in our headquarters has over a 50 percent success rate with smoking cessation,” she noted.
Bradley said Pitney Bowes has registered dieticians on its telehealth platform who are available for one-on-one counseling.
The company is also in the process of rolling out pharmaceutical services where employees are helped with their medication questions, she said, “so it's a great channel for having that opportunity to improve access to health care.”
Additionally, the online telehealth platform provides a list of available providers in an employee's state and a list of what services are available via telehealth, Bradley said. “So when the employee logs in, costs are explained,” she said. “Employees know what's free and what they might be charged for, so it's a very easy platform. They can just click on the provider they are interested in.”
“The results have been very positive, and we are diverting a lot of emergency room visits, which is saving the employees time and the company money,” Bradley said. She added that the satisfaction rate among those who use telehealth is very high, not only with the providers, but with the platform itself. Almost 40 percent of employees enrolled are repeat users, Bradley said.
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