Virtual healthcare has undergone a drastic increase in its adoption and uses all over the world, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Several policy changes prompted by the American Medical Association have also eradicated and minimized multiple barriers that hampered the adoption of telehealth and other virtual healthcare services, making them more accessible.
Patients can now conveniently benefit from several virtual healthcare services that render patient-physician interaction and communication more convenient and improve patient outcomes. Such virtual healthcare services generally include the following:
- Nutrition consultation
- Remote appointment scheduling
- Prescription management
- Patient screenings
- Answering urgent medical calls
- Receiving and relaying test results to particular medical specialists
- Remote patient monitoring of patients with chronic conditions
- Following up with patients after hospital discharge
- Specialized training for healthcare providers located in remote or inaccessible locations
- Caregiver support
- Consultations and specialized coaching for chronic patients
- Support, evaluation, and care for patients in long-term healthcare facilities
Unprecedented Growth of Virtual Healthcare
The changing dynamics in the healthcare industry have compelled medical specialists from all domains to adopt and promote virtual healthcare. Several findings depict year-over-year growth in telehealth adoption along with an increased understanding of how healthcare has metamorphosed due to technology.
The increasing demand for virtual healthcare is not uncalled for, as it is the pivotal key to growth in the healthcare industry. It provides patients and health stakeholders with the convenient ability to share content and data and undertake personalized consultations remotely, notwithstanding any geographical constraints. This augments the quality of healthcare-provider-and-patient interactions by allowing seamless and high-quality virtual access to healthcare.
Automation and virtual health-facilitated robotics also play a pivotal role in the growth of virtual health and the healthcare industry as a whole. They help reduce the burden of repetitive administrative tasks, freeing up time for clinicians to do what actually matters: saving and improving lives. This feature also prompts them to undertake additional practice alongside their medical license. Virtual assistants can easily manage prescription orders, appointment scheduling, and clinician notes transcription through automated processes into the electronic medical record (EMR), giving them more time for one-on-one engagement and treatment for patients.
Thus, virtual healthcare has effectively established itself as an intricately connected, continuous care delivered through seamless telecommunication and digital technologies. These may include remote monitoring, telemedicine, video communication, asynchronous communication, and medication adherence, and also includes innovative solutions for providers or clinicians, including virtual second options and virtual consultations. Thus, virtual healthcare holds the potential to be the propeller of growth, as it touches the four potential Cs vital to drive consumer well-being and delivery. These four Cs are as follows:
- Connectivity – covers asynchronous and synchronous modalities.
- Continuity – encompasses care settings, such as outpatient, inpatient, or home care.
- Coordination – connecting all potential stakeholders, ranging from consumers to providers, consumers to life-sciences companies, providers to providers, and more
- Care Continuum – Ranging from well-being to acute to post-acute healthcare
All of this makes virtual health the absolute option for care and patient well-being in the future of healthcare. It has shown value in the enhancement of healthcare delivery and patient well-being, along with improved provider-patient engagement and experience.
How Virtual Healthcare is Driving Growth
Let us look at a few ways virtual healthcare is driving growth in the healthcare industry:
Improved access to healthcare services
Virtual health allows seamless healthcare access to patients urgently looking for medical attention but unable to contact a medical professional either because of geographical constraints, absence of local specialists, after-hour needs, or urgent complications. Virtual health proves exceptionally beneficial to patients living in rural areas. The nearest hospitals or healthcare providers for patients living in rural areas are located about 10.6 miles away on average, whereas those for patients in urban areas are located only 4.4 miles away on average. Thus, virtual healthcare support from a medical specialist to rural patients can prove life-saving in time-sensitive situations.
Faster and more accurate healthcare results
Virtual healthcare drives growth by allowing patients to arrange virtual appointments on the day and time most convenient to them. With relatively shorter wait times, patients can receive medical treatment recommendations and results very quickly, reducing patient stress and augmenting their healthcare experience.
Chronic care management
More than 100 million individuals in the United States suffer from chronic health conditions and account for around 75% of the total healthcare expenditures. However, virtual healthcare enables medical professionals to offer continuous online support and consultations, monitor their patient’s conditions, and make potential treatment changes depending on the results. Virtual healthcare can, thus, help cut costs, reduce recurrent hospitalizations, and improve the patient’s health in a win-win-win situation.
Reduced cost of virtual healthcare as compared to in-person medical visits
Virtual healthcare consultations prove considerably cheaper than in-person visits for patients, eliminating the expense of transport, time off work, childcare, parking, and much more. The fact that virtual healthcare is promoting growth can be corroborated by the fact that multiple insurance companies have included virtual healthcare services coverage in their plans.
Convenient healthcare access to patients without medical insurance
Virtual healthcare offers a convenient alternative to patients who do not have medical insurance and have to bear the brunt of expensive healthcare.
Physical therapy and home-based rehabilitation
Virtual health is promoting growth by allowing physical therapists to guide patients about at-home exercises, eliminating the hassle of making an in-person visit every other day. Medical professionals can also offer rehabilitation and support to patients who underwent surgical procedures, as their medical condition may hamper easy movement.
Virtual health offers increased privacy to patients by using secure communication platforms that store and protect private information without the patients having to go to hospitals in person.
Interconnected medical network
Virtual health expands the medical network beyond all geographical barriers and attains treatment from medical professionals in any part of the world. Medical professionals can also communicate with fellow specialists before devising a treatment plan for a patient, increasing the chances of success.
Thus, it is safe to say that virtual healthcare is the present and future of the healthcare industry and holds the potential to metamorphose healthcare into an innovative, better-equipped, and more convenient facility for all patients. With an unprecedented increase in patient dealings, treatment, satisfaction, and overall healthcare experience, virtual healthcare is unequivocally the key to growth.