By John Commins
One-fifth of 14,000 employees from 13 nations surveyed in a poll conducted by Mercer consultants used telehealth for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic and 72% of them say they intend to keep using it.
The 2021 Mercer Health on Demand survey, released this week, also detected a big bump in employee interest in other digital health options, including apps to find providers and virtual reality tools for self-care.
“Compared to the 2019 Health on Demand survey, a greater percentage of employees in the 2021 survey found digital solutions to be highly or extremely valuable,” Mercer wrote. “The ability to access care virtually has gained momentum and become a valued option for employees. Survey results reinforce that employers need to plan for a future in which most healthcare journeys include virtual visits and digital healthcare supports.”
The survey also found that:
- The pandemic has had a material impact on the mental, financial, and physical health of employees, with more than half of U.S. employees feeling some level of stress in the last year. Nearly one-fourth say they experienced mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, a fifth are financially worse off, and nearly a fifth feel less physically healthy or fit.
- However, 53% of employees feel their employer has provided good support during the pandemic – and, compared to those who have received little support, they are less likely to have experienced the pandemic’s impact as mostly or entirely negative.
- 45% of employees who feel they have received good support from their employers during the pandemic say they are less likely to leave their company as a result.
“There is nothing more important to the health of a business than the health of its people and the communities in which that business operates,” Mercer CEO and President Martine Ferland said.
“COVID-19 challenged our global healthcare system, but the ability of employers to have a positive impact on employee health and resiliency is one of the most important findings from our 2021 Health on Demand survey,” he said.
“The research is clear – employers that place health and humanity at the center of business transformation will build a more energized and adaptable workforce that is better able to persevere through periods of crisis.”
John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.