Starbucks Is Leading Trend Encouraging Employees To Visit Online Doctors

In an effort to cut costs, many employers are joining forces with telehealth vendors. These vendors provide online consultations that connect patients to doctors.

By doing this, companies don’t have to pay for expensive contracts, in which employees who are sick or injured would immediately go to the emergency room or visit a doctor. Being able to receive medical advice over the internet is a viable and less costly alternative.

Based on the market performances of certain telehealth providers, it’s clear that the trend is on the rise. The third quarter earnings for Teladoc show that the company’s revenue has increased by 83% to $21 million over the previous quarter. Teladoc is known for being the first ever telehealth company that is traded publicly.

According to representatives from Teladoc, total membership of their program increased by 56% to 12.6 million clients. Additionally, the company has obtained more than 500 new accounts that will go into effect by 2016. Companies like Starbucks, Dell, Merck, Marriott and Mercedes-Benz have all signed on with Teladoc.

Telehealth has also proven to be popular in other countries. For instance, in Afghanistan, more than 5,500 telehealth consultations have been offered out of the capital city of Kabul in order to help people from rural areas of the country who have a hard time accessing medical treatment.

Many other telehealth companies besides Teladoc have started offering services. These companies utilize online platforms to connect doctors with patients, often through live video streaming services. Teladoc says that it has provided more than 117,000 consultations this year alone.

Other telehealth companies include Doctor on Demand, American Well and MDLive. These companies have received tens of millions of dollars from companies looking to get on board.

Meanwhile, traditional health plans have also started making use of telehealth services. Some companies doing this include United Healthcare, Anthem, Aetna, and Cigna.

The next time you visit your doctor, it might over the internet.

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