The traditional rule that the best care can be delivered in-person may soon be overturned. Factors like shortage of medical practitioners, rising healthcare costs, and an aging population are making the conventional healthcare model increasingly unsustainable.
Digital technologies and virtual health can help the industry manage these challenges. Virtual health, a term that has been under discussion for quite some time now is often used synonymously with mobile health, digital health, or telehealth. It is a method of enabling continuous care via telecommunication technologies and goes beyond allowing video visits and text-based messaging.
With medical apps designed to drive connected care, digital health presents an exciting opportunity for healthcare organizations to increase access and improve the quality of care.
Virtual Health: Making a Real Difference
Virtual health technologies hold the potential to boost the capacity of primary care doctors and improve efficiency, without expanding the primary care workforce and redirecting clinician time to high-value tasks. Patients can become more active participants in their care. Also, one-size-fits-all care services will be slowly replaced by increasingly personalized options, empowering people to choose care on their own terms and take control of their treatment.
Virtual health solutions can enhance the continuity of care that leads to better clinical outcomes. For instance, patients could spend more time interacting with their provider, rather than visiting clinics in-person and sitting in waiting rooms. Wearable sensors and biometric devices would further allow providers to gather patient information, along with his/her concerns for the visit.
An increase in enabling technologies is making it easier for healthcare organizations to implement virtual health. The rising prevalence of smartphones and improvements in internet speed & connectivity allow virtual interaction between providers and patients. Organizations should consider adopting telehealth and position themselves as leaders in the new healthcare model.
In a Nutshell
An ample change is coming to the healthcare landscape. Virtual health is on the rise and set to change the way care is delivered.
Virtual health programs can expand access to care for patients, especially in rural areas. Technological solutions enable connections to patients who would otherwise have difficulty seeking medical facilities.
In-person care and virtual care are equally important. As technologies evolve to enable more patient self-care, the ratio of virtual care will increase over time.