The world is changing in terms of consumers and patients expecting better and faster services. One area of rapid growth is healthcare and here consumers are finding significant benefits in being able to consult with doctors, or even attend therapy sessions, via text or Facetime while on-the-go. These types of technologies are appealing to businesses — and specifically human resources departments — as well.
According to David Reid, CEO of EaseCentral, a software as a service platform for human resources and employee benefits, these voluntary benefits are proving to be essential in the workplace.
EaseCentral offers human resources and benefits services to over 30,000 employers; the platform enables agents to set up and manage human resources and benefit administration on behalf of their clients. The primary focus is to allow companies to streamline their benefits enrollment and HR management. A recent growth area with human resources has been with telemedicine services. Telemedicine is concerned with different approaches, using communications technology, for the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients (see the Digital Journal article “Why telemedicine works with mental health” as an example of the general application).
To discover more about the potential benefits of telemedicine for employees and other trends relating to workplace digital transformation, Digital Journal spoke with Reid. We began by asking: what’s so special about telemedicine?
Digital Journal: Please explain what telehealth is and how it differs from conventional medicine.
David Reid: “TeleHealth essentially refers to services through which an individual can connect with a doctor through an online or mobile device to discuss symptoms, diagnosis and treatment all without actually having to visit a doctor’s office. TeleHealth benefits individuals in today’s fast-paced society who otherwise may have gone without a doctor visit due to a lack of time, or the inability to leave work.”
DJ: How do companies benefit? What are the benefits for HR professionals?
Reid: “Companies, and specifically HR professionals within companies that utilize the EaseCentral platform, benefit from the all in one software which allows them to complete normally tedious tasks in minutes as opposed to hours. By automating many functions and housing all necessary tools and documents in one easy to use platform, HR professionals save countless hours and increase productivity. The more companies are able to centralize HR and benefits functionalities, the more time and money they can save, and the more energy they are then able to put into other items, such as employee engagement.”
DJ: What are the benefits for insurance companies?
Reid: “For insurance companies, the benefits of partnering with EaseCentral are ease of integration and access to EaseCentral’s large user base through brokers nationwide.”
DJ: Focusing now on the specific types of telemedicine, what is the difference between telemedicine and teletherapy?
Reid: “Telemedicine and Teletherapy have a lot of similarities in that they allow the individual to access to medical professional while on the go and without having to go to a doctor’s office. The main difference is that Telemedicine services allow an individual to access a general physician, while Teletherapy services allow an individual to access a therapist. Teletherapy can be especially effective because mental health doesn’t have a schedule, and it’s often hard to find time in one’s schedule to see a therapist, so offering the option to set up text or even Facetime sessions entices everyone to keep their mental health in check.”
DJ: Please explain what EaseCentral does and what your business aims are.
Reid: “EaseCentral is a cloud-based benefits enrollment software platform built for insurance brokers and employers. EaseCentral makes it simple to set up and manage benefits, onboard new hires, stay compliant, and offer employees one destination for all their human resources information. (The company) works with insurance brokers and small businesses to create seamless HR and benefits processes on a single, easy-to-use platform, and has offices in San Diego and Las Vegas.
“In 2015, EaseCentral was launched on the West Coast and is now among the most widely adopted, fastest growing solutions for brokers and employers in the area, with over 30,000 employers and nearly one million enrollees.”
DJ: Shifting focus to how someone might enter the business technology field, please explain your background and how you founded your company?
Reid: “Originally, I worked as a broker for many years, offering insurance and benefits programs to employers. I worked first hand with all of the many tools and systems brokers use daily to pass documents and important files back and forth with employers. I noticed that there was no existing platform on which brokers could house all the tools and information they needed in one, easy-to-access place that both they and the employer could update in real time. It was from this lack of aggregation that led me to found EaseCentral.”
DJ: What other projects are you working on?
Reid: “Currently, EaseCentral is all hands on deck with our East Coast expansion. We’ve just recently begun settling into our brand new office in New York City and are soon planning to announce the first of our major east coast partners. This is an exciting time within the company as we expand our footprint across the nation.”
Given that telemedicine is just one part of the digital transformation of businesses, we also spoke with Reid about general developments.
DJ: What other digital trends do you think are interesting?
Reid: “De-location is another highly interesting, and relatively new voluntary benefit trend that we are seeing gain quite a bit of traction. It’s a smart business tool that can be utilized for attracting and retaining an emerging generation of top talent.
“At EaseCentral, we allow employees to work from wherever they choose. We utilize technology that helps make it feel like everyone is in one office, from Slack to video chatting and centralized platforms. With costs skyrocketing in San Francisco (where we are based out of) we’re seeing a demand for employees to move to new cities to start families. We support these employees fully and help them make that move. It’s our priority to ensure our employees are truly happy.”
DJ: What are the overall advantages of digital transformation for the workplace and business world?
Reid: “The biggest and most easily measurable advantage of digital transformation in the workplace is increased efficiency. Moving tasks like employee onboarding, PTO requests and benefit enrollment online, allows for both the employer and the employee to update documents in real time and allows for automation to take place whenever possible, to avoid tedious tasks that can be more appropriately handled by an algorithm. By reducing time spent on these tasks, HR professionals and brokers increase productivity and have more time to work on the more important functions of their positions. ”
The complexity and disruption caused by digital technology means that employers need to adjust business focus not only outwardly but also inwardly, engaging with employees and offering a range of services. EaseCentral’s move into telemedicine services provides one cogent example for employers to consider.