Digital Health Tools Aren’t Just Good for Employees — Employers Benefit, Too

This article appeared in 2024 MMA Operations Conference event program. Learn more about MMA events.

While health care providers work tirelessly to help patients reach their health goals, they have a finite amount of time with each patient. An annual primary care visit lasts about 15–25 minutes,1 and patients only spend about five hours every year in a health care setting.2 When patients need support between visits or have barriers to convenient care, digital health tools make all the difference. These tools — including those that provide virtual care options — are a critical part of every employer’s health care benefit strategy.

With digital solutions, patients have access to advice, vetted resources, and real-time data about their health at their fingertips. For those living with chronic conditions, family-building challenges, mental health or other ongoing health concerns, round-the-clock access makes a big difference. Digital tools tailored to patient-specific health concerns offer in-depth, in-the-moment support. Even common health issues, like strep throat or a bout of poison ivy can be quickly resolved with a virtual health visit.

The convenience and accessibility of digital health tools come into particular focus when considering employees who live in rural areas or health deserts, where access to adequate medical care is an even greater challenge. No matter where they live, work, or play, employees with access to digital health tools on their smart devices can take control of their health and engage with their care in new ways.

Beyond convenience for patients, digital health tools provide a critical advantage for employers at a time when employees are willing to change jobs for better benefits. In fact, one in three Millenials,3 who are expected to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025,4 say they have considered switching employers for better health and other benefits.

In addition to talent retention, digital health tools support productivity. Consider the time away from work required to attend an in-person appointment. On average, Americans spend about 34 minutes driving to a doctor’s visit and another 11 minutes in the waiting room.5 It’s possible that a mid-day appointment would require employees to be away from work for nearly an hour and a half — about 20 percent of a standard 8-hour work day — despite the short time spent with their provider.

Not so with a virtual visit, which can be conducted on a smart phone during a coffee break.

With a digital health strategy, employers can demonstrate they are forward-thinking, provide benefits that give employees 24/7 access to care, and make the most of their health care dollars. Business leaders should ask their health insurance carriers about digital tools and ensure they offer robust solutions reflective of the employee population and their unique needs.

To learn about how the digital health tools and virtual care options available through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan help employers set themselves apart in the labor market, reduce gaps in care, and support productivity, visit

About the Authors

Elizabeth CarrElizabeth Carr is on the Corporate Marketing and Customer Experience team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. She may be reached at

Chelsea MooreChelsea Moore is the solution manager for digital health at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. She may be reached at

Premium Associate MemberBlue Cross Blue Shield is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since September 2009. Visit online:

Blue Cross Blue Shield was a sponsor of the 2024 MMA Operations Conference. Learn more about MMA events.

  1. Statista, 2018
  2. Diabetes Hands Foundation. Presented at ADA Conference 2015.
  3. Statista, 2021
  4. Deloitte, “Big demands and high expectations: The Deloitte millennial survey”
  5. Alatrum, 2019