The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted telemedicine from an anomaly and outlier to a necessity overnight, and doctors say they can’t see ever going back to their old model of care. As we experience a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, healthcare consumers are continuing to adjust their expectations for what healthcare will look like in the future.
The pandemic has spurred an increase in telemedicine and telehealth adoption that will likely continue even after things return to “normal.” Healthcare’s digital front doors are opening up access, and providers are adopting telemedicine technology to meet the growing demand for risk-free, convenient and cost-effective access to care.
Optimizing End-To-End Care Management
The pandemic has thrust telemedicine solutions forward by years if not a decade or more in the short span of three to six months. This is creating an opportunity for remote patient monitoring to provide even better visibility into patients beyond what can be accomplished with basic video conferencing.
Today, as we think about how care can be delivered in a contactless environment, many providers are coming to the realization that a vast majority of visits can be done virtually, either by a phone call or through a videoconference. As a result, they’re now evaluating their end-to-end care delivery models with an eye toward which visits can be done online versus in person.
Symptom assessments, behavioral health services, chronic care management and even annual physical exams to a certain extent, could be achieved without ever stepping foot into a healthcare facility depending on the situation. Likewise, much of follow-up care, such as reviewing test results and prescription refills, is ideal for a virtual setting. Because of the ease of access to care, this trend of virtual visits can be expected to become the new normal, even after the pandemic ends.
Preference For Virtual Care
In a recent survey conducted by my company, 91% of respondents who have had a telehealth appointment said they are more likely to schedule a telehealth appointment instead of an in-person visit in the future.
This massive shift to virtual care is causing providers to report 50 to 175 times the number of telehealth visits as seen prior to the pandemic.- McKinsey research.
Virtual visits are so easy to adopt because the technology requirements are fairly simple for both the patient and provider. Consumers need a smartphone, laptop or desktop computer. Anything with a camera should suffice, along with a decent microphone, speaker and internet connection to communicate with the provider. If a patient doesn’t have any of those, they can still get a certain degree of care over the phone, email or text.
Telemedicine also offers much more flexibility for after-hours and weekend visits. Patients who live in rural areas, have hectic schedules or don’t have a steady means of transportation to get to an in-person facility can simply dial in or click a link to join a video call. Telemedicine also can help prevent the serious consequences of deferred care when patients are concerned about being infected at a clinic or hospital, especially in at-risk populations such as older people
On the provider side, capacity has expanded, so providers are able to see more patients virtually than in person. Similar to their patient counterparts, going virtual empowers providers to have more flexibility and control over their schedules. Providers will see an uptick in patient volume and lower overhead costs while being reimbursed at rates comparable to in-person visits. Because of accessibility, convenience and overall efficiency of telemedicine services, costs may come down for the first time in decades, benefitting both payers and providers.
While the technology existed, there was some reluctance among providers to fully implement it because the learning curve appeared steep and there wasn’t a pressing need driving adoption. The pandemic has shown us that implementation can be seamless if there is a strategy guiding procurement.
Like any industry going through digital transformation, there can be a knee-jerk reaction to implementing technology quickly. To avoid technology overload, which can lead to things like physician burnout, siloed systems, disjointed care and tech abandonment, investments must be deliberate.
As patients increasingly prefer virtual tools, digital self-enrollment capabilities, such as scheduling an appointment, providing healthcare/insurance information and receiving pre- and post-appointment communications online, will be in increasing demand.
Additionally, remote monitoring technology for both active and passive healthcare consumers will likely gain traction over time.
At the end of the day, what patients really want is timely access to care from the right provider in the right setting. The pandemic greatly accelerated the need for and adoption of virtual visits, which now serves as a viable access point to patients wherever they are. Telemedicine is here to stay.
Because of COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in demand for Telemedicine services.
While you are a professional at dealing with your patients, doing patient visits in a virtual environment proves to be a bit different. It is important that you have the time needed to focus on your patients so you can care for them appropriately during the coronavirus outbreak. All these healthcare solutions are more efficient, affordable and streamlined with an outsourcing company like Viaante Business Solutions. By outsourcing to Viaante, your healthcare business need not worry about spending so much on equipments and training staff to keep up with the times. You stay within your budget and get the same experience with a reliable, experienced outsourcing company. Look no further than Viaante, a HIPAA compliant organization that promises both quality patient care and financial success.