The Right Technology Will Help Your Company Offer More Competitive Healthcare Options

Digital health tools — including apps, software, and hardware — empower employees to monitor their health, improve their wellness, and get the care they want and need.

6 min read

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In the realm of healthcare, this sentiment rings particularly true. That’s because when you equip your employees with technology that directly and indirectly improves their health, your company can reap the benefits of healthier teams, as well as lower healthcare and insurance costs, increased employee satisfaction, and boosted productivity.

Continue reading to learn how technology can help your employees live healthier, more comfortable lives, all while you attract and retain top talent.

Digital Tools to Help Improve Employee Health

Research shows that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers now care more about their overall health and wellness, and they’re seeking tools and products to help them lead healthier lives. According to the Ernst & Young Future Consumer Index 2021, 57 percent of respondents believe healthy products (including digital self-care tools) are increasingly important. With more access to digital tools that track important health metrics — such as heart rate, sleep quality, blood pressure, and caloric intake — consumers seem to be shifting away from reactive care and moving toward preventive care. This important shift may open new doors for healthcare companies and employers as well. Digital health tools — including apps, software, and hardware — empower employees to monitor their health, improve their wellness, and get the care they want and need.

Let’s explore some technology and tools that will help your company be more competitive in the realm of employee healthcare:

Software that allows employees to work remotely

Software is fundamental in the corporate shift to remote work. Without the intuitive messaging, video conferencing, and cloud-enabled storage and document collaboration tools many organizations use on a daily basis, many remote and hybrid work models would crumble. And while these tools don’t directly impact an employee’s health in the way certain apps and wearables do, they enable remote work and create more space for health-focused opportunities. These indispensable remote-work tools allow hybrid and remote employees to avoid catching any illnesses around the office and enjoy increased flexibility to make doctor’s appointments, among other preventative measures.

Apps that monitor health or offer telehealth options

According to AON’s 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey of 1,648 companies across 41 countries, the digital healthcare market saw a major uptick after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to consumers’ greater desire to improve their health, companies in the health and healthcare sectors developed more digital videos, tools, and apps, to assess, monitor, and improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Applications spanning telemedicine, online therapy, chronic disease management, and health tracking (for sleep, exercise, and nutrition, for instance) allow employees to take more control over their health. Take, for example, a person with diabetes who uses a mobile app to track their glucose throughout the day, or an employee who uses a sleep-tracking app to combat insomnia. Apps can help locate doctors, access electronic medical records, and keep track of medications. Taking all of these tools into account, people can take responsibility for their health and get the most out of their healthcare benefits.

Kaia Believes: Self-Service Technologies Are the Future of Healthcare

Today’s employees are empowered and proactive, and they’ve embraced the power of digital tools to track and take charge of their health. Most people no longer want to wait months for care, navigate traffic, and fill out stacks of paperwork for a short appointment. They want health solutions when they need them, where they need them.

According to the 2021 Mercer Marsh Benefits Health on Demand survey, 80 percent of Americans planned to use digital solutions for their healthcare last year, either to help them manage a condition or to support their health goals. Companies that build digital infrastructure for employees to access state-of-the-art health technology will lead the way into the future and boost their efforts to recruit and retain the best employees.

Ergonomic solutions that allow for safer, more efficient work setups

With more workers clocking in from home, research suggests interest in at-home ergonomic evaluations and activities will continue to grow. This greater focus on work-from-home ergonomics matters considering how recent studies show musculoskeletal conditions caused by uncomfortable, fatigue-inducing workstations as one of the most common health effects associated with telework.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders can include a variety of ailments, from carpal tunnel syndrome due to prolonged typing, to back strain from sitting in a specific position for too long, to neck tension from being hunched over a laptop.

In addition to offering a stipend for ergonomic office supplies — including sit-to-stand desks, desk chairs, laptop stands, keyboards, mice, and more — employers can invest in helpful software to assess, monitor, and improve remote employee ergonomics.

The Benefits of Equipping Employees with the Right Tech

When you offer your employees helpful digital health tools, your company can look forward to a myriad of benefits both inside and outside the office.

Advantages of more comprehensive, collaborative, and health-focused technology include the following:

A more inclusive talent pool

Sure, broadening your workforce horizons opens new doors in terms of where you can hire talent from. But the organizational benefits of enabling remote work far exceed geographic location. Companies can now double down on inclusivity, hiring skilled employees who feel more comfortable doing their best work from home. Empowered by remote capabilities, immunocompromised individuals, for example, have more employment options open to them, as they don’t need to inject the variable of a problematic commute into their daily routine.

Additionally, remote work offers employees with certain chronic conditions and disabilities, (such as vision impairment, multiple sclerosis, cancer, or epilepsy, just to name a few) more flexibility, accessibility, and privacy to address medical issues outside of a communal office.

Decreased costs

There are several ways expansive healthcare offerings can decrease costs for employees and employers. For instance, employees who practice preventive care with proper nutrition, regular exercise, mental health maintenance, and health education and screenings may see lower healthcare costs over time.

Health-monitoring technology also enables employees to monitor their health more closely. They can set goals, track workouts, and even get automated reminders to seek routine medical care, all of which contribute to healthier day-to-day living, improved mental health, and less work absenteeism.

More specifically, some employees without preexisting conditions who feel healthy enough to visit doctors just a couple of times a year may opt for plans with higher deductibles, which often come with a lower monthly premium.

On the other side of the coin, when workers have the tools to step away from an unhealthy habit, their healthcare costs can drop in other, more direct ways. If an employee stops smoking, for instance, their insurance premiums may decrease by up to 50 percent.

Conclusion

By thinking more holistically about your employee benefits — and the tech you need to help employees do their best work safely and comfortably — you’ll be well on your way to a happier, more satisfied organization. When you dive a little deeper and offer a more expansive selection of technology devoted to monitoring and improving health, current and future talent will recognize your competitive healthcare options and you’ll start to see the long-term impacts of investing in your employees’ health.

Author: Nicole McDermott 

Nicole McDermott has worked in the creative content space for the last decade as a writer, editor, and director. Her work has been featured on TIME Healthland, Prevention, Shape, USA Today, The Huffington Post, Refinery29, Lifehacker, Health, DailyBurn, Petco, The Daily Beast, Openfit, and Sleep Number, among others. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, son, and dog. She’s a big fan of wine, hiking, reality television, and crocheting.

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