Virtual Occupational Health: A Component of Total Worker Health® at Your Fingertips

While the COVID-19 pandemic forced many industries to transition to a virtual world, at the same time organizations have been searching for ways to reduce occupational health costs. The large baby boomer generation is working longer into their lives than previous generations and experiencing nearly double rates of work-related health issues compared to their younger counterparts. This combination results in a real need for expert occupational healthcare to treat and prevent injuries and illnesses at work and help workers avoid already overcrowded emergency rooms and urgent care centers. Virtual occupational health has emerged as a safe solution for supporting worker health wherever they’re located.

What is virtual occupational health?

Falling under Premise Health’s Digital Wellness Center, virtual occupational health is a remote option for many occupational health services. Sometimes referred to as occupational health telemedicine, virtual services are available to both remote and on-site employees wherever and whenever they need access to high-quality occupational health care or guidance.

Benefits for employees

Not all employees work typical business hours. 24/7 virtual occupational health support means that no matter the time-of-day employees can get expert care quickly, especially for second and third shift workers seeking after-hours care. This is also a convenient option for remote, dispersed, or rural populations that aren’t located near a physical health center.

Benefits for organizations

Accurate and timely medical consultations help organizations avoid unnecessary emergency care for minor injuries by providing employees with the necessary level of care no matter the time or place. Many injuries can be treated conservatively by a virtual occupational health provider, avoiding costs for organizations who may be footing the bill for costly emergency room visits when they aren’t necessary.

How does virtual occupational health work?

With 24/7 access in all 50 states through video or phone, virtual care is provided by a registered occupational health provider on a centralized care team. Delivered through an integrated technology platform, providers have easy access to a single medical record of truth and can communicate seamlessly with other providers on the platform if additional healthcare services are required. They also have the support of a virtual concierge team to ensure all their needs are met before, during, and after each visit.

What services are included with virtual occupational health?

Certified occupational health providers from a centralized care team are trained to deliver medically appropriate care including a variety of services to meet an organization and their employee’s needs:

  • Initial injury evaluation and treatment
  • Nurse triage and first aid
  • Medical care for work related injuries and illnesses
  • Stay-at-work recommendations
  • Return-to-work strategies
  • Ongoing follow-up and support
  • Appointment-based ergonomics visits delivered by a certified ergonomist

However, not all services can be appropriately administered in a digital environment. If additional medical support and care navigation is required, virtual occupational health providers can help employees access care as needed.

Additionally, life-threatening injuries or illnesses will need to receive immediate in-person care. In these unique scenarios, care teams will triage the employee to local care for immediate assistance.

How is virtual occupational health different with Premise?

With Premise Health, virtual occupational healthcare is more than just nurse triage. Members can be seamlessly escalated to a Premise physician when it is deemed medically appropriate. Members will be able to receive the right level of care from a Premise provider, exactly when they need it.

Compared to other direct healthcare and occupational health telemedicine providers, Premise Health offers a holistic approach to virtual occupational health through integration with our other solutions such as virtual primary care, pharmacy, and existing onsite driven occupational health programs. Our virtual providers have the option to escalate to another provider who can treat and deliver medically appropriate care so that members always get the right treatment, virtually or in-person.

Premise also sets ourselves apart with our longstanding history of over 50 years managing complex occupational health programs that have kept the workforces of over 95 of the nation’s top organizations safe and healthy.

Virtual occupational health presents a big opportunity to support the NIOSH Total Worker Health strategy with expert care available 24/7 at an employee’s fingertips. In addition to treating and preventing workplace injuries from worsening over time, our unique approach to Total Worker Health® can improve timeliness and quality of care received for occupational illness and injuries, while saving organizations money at the same time.

A virtual-first approach makes sense for many organizations and workers who have difficulty accessing quality local occupational health resources, have gaps in occupational health support after-hours, or have an influx of emergency rooms visits for minor injuries. A virtual occupational health solution can provide a much-needed resource in these populations.

Contact us to learn more about offering virtual occupational health to your members.


Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and HealthTotal Worker Health® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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