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How Virtual Health Care Helps Employees Thrive

Employees continuously adapt to change in our society and in the workplace. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research's Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes (SWAA), as of January 2023, 13% of full-time employees are fully remote, 59% are full-time on site, and 28% are in a hybrid arrangement.1

While more employers are reopening their offices and the number of work from home (WFH) days are decreasing, some employees still desire fully remote jobs.1 WFH and hybrid scenarios allow employees to spend less money (transportation, food, entertainment, etc.), offer greater flexibility, and provide better work-life balance.1

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As employers weigh the pros and cons of WFH arrangements to determine which scenarios will work best in their workplace, there is an opportunity to tap into the advantages of virtual work and evaluate what other remote options could offer value for employees. According to the Global Talent Trends 2022–2023: Rise of the Relatable Organization report by Mercer, 30% of employers plan to offer increased access to virtual health options as a plan to promote long-term employee well-being.2 Additionally, 46% of employers currently offer virtual mental health counseling as a top strategy to support mental health.2

Virtual health care is a broad term that can be defined as providing care and delivering health services and solutions to patients remotely through technology. Communication platforms can include video, mobile apps, telephone and text-based messaging.

The terms "telehealth" and "telemedicine" are also used to describe virtual health care. However, while some organizations use these three terms interchangeably, others define them separately. Telehealth can be defined as the use of technology and electronic information to support a wide scope of remote clinical and nonclinical health care services such as professional and patient education, administration, and diagnostic and monitoring activities across many health service disciplines.3,4 Telemedicine has historically been defined as remote clinical services.5

Similar to a remote job, virtual health care allows employees to save time and money since there is no commute. It provides flexibility since employees can prioritize and manage their health from the safety and comfort of their home. Although virtual health care cannot replace all in-person services, it offers a convenient way to access health benefits. Below are three reasons virtual health care can help your employees thrive:

1) Virtual health care helps employees manage chronic diseases.

Six in ten adults in the U.S. have some form of chronic disease.6 Managing a chronic disease may require timely and regular evaluations with a doctor. Meeting virtually is a less time-consuming and more cost-effective option for employees to check in regularly with their providers after a diagnosis. In addition to real-time education and support, doctors can provide digital tools such as wearable devices to monitor an employee's health. Proper management of chronic diseases can lead to fewer hospitalizations and lower health care costs.

2) Virtual health care provides employees with quick access to providers.

Virtual health programs are designed to offer timely support and simple scheduling. Employees don't have to wait months for an in-office visit and can seek treatment quickly. This is especially helpful when they have questions and are only looking for non-critical medical advice.

If an employee needs mental health support, online therapy is an accessible and affordable choice. In most cases, virtual counseling can be scheduled seven days a week. Moreover, employees have access to licensed professionals who can address a variety of mental illnesses and challenges.

3) Virtual health care provides access to diverse providers.

Virtual health care provides access to a larger, more diverse group of professionals no matter where employees live. Diversity is key when someone is a member of an underserved community. Their health experience and outcomes improve when they are able to connect with providers who share their background, speak their language and have cultural competence. Also, communication and understanding are enhanced between provider and patient, which is crucial in a health care setting.

Broader access is also important when someone lives in an area that lacks providers of a particular specialty. With virtual health care, employees can access a wide range of specialty care providers remotely.

Virtual health care is a contemporary health and wellness approach that can decrease overall costs for both employees and employers while empowering employees to take control of their health anytime and anywhere. It provides employees with wider access to diverse health care practitioners who can provide quality and compassionate care for those in marginalized communities. Additionally, employees have another way to improve and maintain both their physical and mental health when they aren't experiencing an emergency. Employers may want to consider integrating virtual health care into their benefits strategy to help employees thrive. It is a solution that is here to stay.

Virtual Health Care Opportunities from Allstate Benefits

Allstate Benefits offers access to virtual health care benefits through Walmart Health Virtual Care. Benefits include medical consultations, behavioral health counseling, and talk therapy services to patients nationwide via telehealth. Services are provided in accordance with state law by physicians, nurse practitioners, and other licensed professionals.

When medically necessary, Walmart Health Virtual Care providers may prescribe medication that patients can pick up at a local pharmacy. (Virtual Urgent Care visits are not a replacement for a primary care physician or an annual physical exam.)

Employers can add virtual medical and behavioral health services (Urgent Care, Talk Therapy) to most group health plans and virtual behavioral health services (Talk Therapy, Teen Therapy, Psychiatry Solutions) to select voluntary insurance products through Walmart Health Virtual Care. Contact an Allstate Benefits Representative to learn more.

1Barrero, J. M., Bloom, N., & Davis, S. J. (2023, February 12). Why Working from Home Will Stick. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 28731. Retrieved April 16, 2023, from WFHResearch_updates_February2023.pdf

2Global Talent Trends 2022–2023: Rise of the relatable organization. Mercer. (2022, April 20). Retrieved April 17, 2023, from

3What is Telehealth? Health Resources & Services Administration. (2022a, March 1). topics/telehealth/what-is-telehealth

4What is telehealth? Center for Connected Health Policy. (2021, April 16). Retrieved April 16, 2023, from

5AMA Telehealth Quick Guide. American Medical Association. (2021, November 5). Retrieved April 16, 2023, from

6Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, December 13). Chronic diseases in America. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 17, 2023, from

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