Increasingly, consumers have high expectations of their healthcare encounters, including those that happen virtually. Virtual technology can help solve problems in access and convenience of care through, for example:
- Healthcare clinics in retail stores and pharmacies
- Digital health apps
- Remote monitoring devices and wearables
- Or subscription-based memberships
Consumers want care delivered where, when, and how the prefer it. Moreover, they want better communication, digital engagement, and interaction with providers.
That’s changed from before the pre-pandemic baseline. Then, consumers and patients were mostly considering – and using – virtual care for prescriptions refill. According to a survey of 7,000 consumers by the Advisory Board, willingness has completely shifted today. For example, more than 60% of people would now consider going virtual for ongoing care, pre-surgical appointments, and post-surgical follow-ups, or receiving oncology results. And there’s more.
Physicians aren’t so sure about virtual care
Providers, however, don’t necessarily see it the same way. A McKinsey survey found that 62% of physicians said they recommend in-person over virtual care to patients. Many are also not convinced that telehealth can improve the patient experience. This disconnect can be costly, as patients can switch providers and change modalities of care more easily.
While some physicians are still on the fence, employers are all in. In the 2022 KFF Survey of Employer Health Benefits, 90% of employers stated telemedicine will be important in providing access to care for behavioral, primary, and specialty care, and in remote settings.
How can digital health technology help transform care?
Digital health technology organizations and product leaders can play an important role in improving the healthcare experience and the health of people. For example, they can help reduce the disconnect between patients and providers.
A good virtual care solution can also strengthen the relationship between the patient and the provider by helping clinicians hone their “web-side” manner, the digital alternative to bedside manner. Another way is to focus on smart patient education with the right content and tools as an effective alternative to help manage questions asked to clinicians.
Expectations and opinions about virtual care and telehealth will likely continue to vary. But for companies and innovators in digital health technology, the time to act upon the opportunity is now.