July 16, 2020

Employee Support and Triage

By Shantanu Nundy, Chief Medical Officer, Accolade

Let’s focus on employee support and triage

Accolade is introducing a blog series to advise and support companies from a clinical perspective as they traverse an often daunting and confusing path of returning to work and responding to Covid-19. Our first blog on Prevention is here and you find additional articles and content on Covid-19 for employers here.

As a primary care physician, I’ve seen firsthand how scary it is when patients first get symptoms consistent with Covid-19 or have a positive exposure.

What patients are looking for in those first moments is timely access to a compassionate expert, who acknowledges their fears, answers their questions, and quickly navigates them to the next step in their care journey. Testing while essential is not enough. When you’re sick and worried about having a serious condition, you are also looking for answers from someone with experience that can understand your needs and knows what to do.

What we know from data is that this need for compassionate expertise is more pressing now more than ever. Amongst working Americans 20-40% do not have a primary care doctor, a statistic that is higher than it’s been in recent years. Even amongst those with a primary care doctor, often it takes days or longer to get an appointment and if you get an appointment many doctors’ offices still don’t yet testing available.

Timely access is not only critical to the affected member and his or her family. It’s also critical for employers. When it comes to stopping the further spread of Covid-19 at the workplace and breaking the chain of transmission, every minute counts. Studies show that rapid testing and isolation of suspected cases can reduce Ro, the reproductive factor for Covid-19 – an estimate of how many people an infected person will infect – by 40%.

Based on this data, we have designed our support and triage pillar around expedited care and testing. Accolade members can access a mobile app and phone number that they can call or message with any symptom or concern of Covid-19. We then get those members to a nurse who can conduct a formal clinical assessment including triaging the urgency of their condition and assessing them for financial or behavioral health needs. For those who need testing, we get them on demand access to a virtual doctor network which we have built shared protocols with, so that they are quickly seen by a doctor and if testing is needed prescribe testing at a local testing center near them. Our goal is to assess, treat and be their for the member along the way.

Healthcare is confusing. It’s hard enough dealing with it when you’re well, it’s even harder when you’re sick and especially from a condition as concerning as Covid-19. That’s why for us, employee support and triage is a critical part of our recommended clinical strategy to reopening businesses with care and confidence.