By Healthcare IT News

Like everyone, Michelle Snyder is eagerly awaiting the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and a return to normalcy. The Partner with McKesson Ventures, a San Francisco-based investment firm, however, is quick to point to one exception:

“I hope … we will not go back to how things were and that we will continue to see virtual care be an integral part of the primary and specialty care experience,” Snyder said. To make this happen, investors and healthcare providers need to continue what they started during the pandemic.

More specifically, investors need to keep supporting companies that create “tools, technologies and platforms to help doctors continue to not only survive, but also thrive,” as the industry moves toward value-based care, she said. In addition, investors should sustain technology companies that enable providers to deliver services under new hybrid models, which include both in-person and virtual care.

Investors, however, ought to only bank on companies that are bringing the right elements to the table. “From an investment point of view, you’re looking for the general themes – great team, great product and then a large market opportunity,” Snyder pointed out.

Because so many companies are entering the primary and virtual care space, it’s important to zero in on those that can differentiate themselves. One of the ways that companies can stand out is by offering technology platforms that not only make care delivery more efficient, but also produce better outcomes, Snyder said.

Carrying on in the wake of COVID-19

Snyder also is hoping primary and specialty care providers build upon what they started during the pandemic and not only provide services “within the four walls of an office or the hospital, but also at the [patient’s] home or at different locations.”

More specifically, providers – as well as investors – need to uphold several trends that were born during the pandemic, including:

  • Reengineering primary care. Healthcare organizations should “look more holistically at a population and actually think more about outcomes and value and how [they] can take care of patients from a virtual-first approach. It’s not saying, ‘Let’s just build on to the current system and add a telehealth component.’ It’s ‘Let’s rethink primary care from the ground up, starting with virtual,’” she said.
  • Enhancing the patient experience. Providers need to maintain a closed-loop system that supports both virtual and in-person care. The information from all these care experiences then needs to get integrated into the system to help create a holistic experience for the patient, according to Snyder.
  • Including mental health in the mix. “For so long, health has just been about physical health,” but with COVID-19, there’s been an increased focus on the integration of mental health and physical health. “We’ve definitely seen … how those two are joined at the hip,” she said.
  • Creating personalized patient experiences. The one-size-fits-all approach does not work. Fortunately, virtual technology tools can empower healthcare organizations to create more personalized experiences for consumers. So instead of treating all people with diabetes or all women the same, providers can create a personalized approach with each patient, Snyder said.
  • Supporting equity. Healthcare organizations started to consider how social determinants of health, including financial status, affects patients. Unfortunately, leaders have discovered that these factors have created an “imbalance in our system” and inequity among various patient populations. As such, providers, health plans and investors should continue to focus on creating equitable healthcare for all. “One thing that COVID has definitely shown is that we have challenges in our country in this area,” Snyder concluded.

To watch the entire interview with Snyder and learn how investors and providers need to continue to embrace virtual care in the future, visit HIMSS TV/Ontrak4.

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