How Some Companies are Using Virtual Health for its Employees

Virtual health employees

Employers looking to provide quality care for their employees find it difficult to choose from the hundreds of digital vendors. While some companies prefer the most cutting-edge apps, others may prefer to take a more traditional route. But as more companies dip their toes into the digital waters, MobiHealthNews discusses how some companies are opting for virtual health to fit the needs of their employees.

“Something everyone understands is that everyone has a mobile device even if they are poor,” Mike Ezzard, senior director of global benefits at Activision Blizzard, a video game maker, said at the Employee Health, Benefits & Wellbeing Congress Summit in Boston. “The world is mobile we have to be able to meet people there.”

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Blizzard teamed up with Jiff, now part of Castlight, to give its employees a wellness platform which gives them access to a variety of other healthcare apps, covering topics from weight management to living with cancer. The system also gives them back data on what services are being used.

As the average age for an employee at Blizzard was relatively young, it meant many employees weren’t necessarily visiting a doctor on a regular basis, Ezzard said. However, according to the company, 60% of its employees are interacting with the digital platform.

“[We’re thinking] about keeping people healthy so they aren’t a trainwreck down the road. A lot of people are fairly sedentary,” Ezzard said. “We want to deliver something my leadership feels is smart and is money well spent and so I can continue to do cool thing and be customer centered.”

Ezzard also said that the number of employees accessing tools for things such as heart disease is relatively low, but pregnancy and infant care tools are popular.

Ezzard said they offer not only apps but a smart baby bed called the Snoo Smart Sleeper, which is responsive to baby’s sleep and movements and lets parents track their baby’s sleep habits with a mobile app. The crib is designed to help the baby sleep longer, which could mean more rested employees, Ezzard said.

Virtual health employees

By contrast, Chesapeake Energy has decided to use more traditional telemedicine as its way of the future. While the company’s main campus in Oklahoma City has a doctor on site, many of its employees come from remote areas where getting to a doctor can be very difficult.

When the company found out that its employees were using the emergency room at a high rate, it employed Teladoc as its telemedicine service, according to Lisa Cummings, director of total rewards at Chesapeake.

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“We have been able to reduce costs for the company and provided some benefits to people in remote locations,” Cummings said at the event.

Cummings said in 2015, 10% of employees used the service which was the first year of implementation. That number has since grown to around 17% and plateaued in the last couple of years, she said.

“My goal is for the onsite doctor and telemedicine doctor to [be] seeing same EHR,” Cummings said.

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Sam Draper
Sam Draper () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies specialized in the field of sports and fitness but also passionated about any new lifestyle gadget on the market. Sam can be contacted at press(at)