How has the global pandemic impacted the use of telehealth and telemedicine across the healthcare industry?
Telehealth strategies and innovations in virtual care have existed in many settings for years. However, given the global pandemic, suddenly hundreds of millions of people could no longer freely leave their homes. And with that, virtual care, in all its forms, has been thrust into the spotlight.
That said, different types of organizations offered different types of solutions. The VP and Head of Innovation of a large, multi-state hospital system shared that they are primarily using virtual care to provide virtual access to physician specialists across a larger geography, especially in rural areas.
But how is the patient population reacting to the new realities?
There has been a dramatic increase in patient perception of care/patient satisfaction through virtual care strategies. Even when the strategies are not directly visible to the patient, results ensue.
In a few highlighted cases, access has been improved using providers to facilitate consultations versus in-person visits. For certain specialties, the ability to see more patients virtually improves care for all. The pandemic shined a light on how well these arrangements can work—a real win when populations are dispersed across a geography.
One panelist remarked What we call Virtual Care is essentially being delivered by technology organizations via technology platforms. For Virtual care to be successful, healthcare providers need to be the ones who jump into make it actually happen.
This requires provider willingness to adopt new methodologies and training to ensure that the comfort level is increased so that care can be delivered in the most ideal ways.
“Patient satisfaction has vastly improved with the increase in virtual care,” commented another panelist making a strong case for the new patient-first strategies that appeal to the hearts of clinicians.