COVID-19 highlighted how important virtual care is to the future of healthcare.
This week, Drew Schiller, Validic CEO sat down to discuss the seamless transition to virtual care for COVID-19, how data is critical in a virtual care strategy, and expectations that patients as consumers have for care delivery.
The Transition to Virtual Care
Virtual strategies are crucial when health systems are at capacity, or when there is not enough staff to support the number of patients that need care.
Before COVID-19 hit the U.S., health systems were already facing a mountain of challenges: personnel shortages, provider burnout, increased risk and compliance responsibilities, revenue shortages and a need for top-line growth and bottom-line efficiencies.
“We are estimated to have a shortage of 800k or more healthcare workers from physicians to nurses to home healthcare workers over the next five years,” said Schiller.
Virtual care strategies provide an opportunity for hospitals and health systems to treat patients from the safety of their homes. Through canceled appointments, fear of in-office visits, and the mental and physical health effects of being quarantined, patients need support now more than ever, and they need our healthcare system to be well equipped to do so.
Data is Critical to Virtual Care
As patients canceled in-person appointments due to fear of contracting COVID-19, providers had to move to virtual care strategies quickly. A crucial element to a successful virtual care program is data and doctors rely on these data to provide care.
Before COVID-19, the data that the physicians were relying on was convenient for physicians but inconvenient for patients because they had to go into a clinical setting to be seen and have their data collected.
Remote patient monitoring allows providers to have access to continuous data such as blood pressure, weight, and blood glucose levels.
“Because of the ongoing nature of virtual visits and continuous data, we can start to provide preventative and real-time care and have scheduled visits in response to data rather than scheduled visits in response to a calendar.”
Patients are Consumers Too
Patients are ready for virtual care and they have been for a long time. As health systems and clinics rapidly deploy virtual services in response to COVID-19, consumers are becoming accustomed to the ease, convenience, and benefits remote offerings deliver, and we can expect this to become the new normal for patient expectations for care going forward.
“The fact that we were able to go online so quickly that physicians and clinicians were able to pick up virtual visits so fast really highlights that we are ready for this shift and it’s not a technology barrier and it’s something that we already had the technology in place for.”
Doctors need data in order to perform their care. Patients and physicians are both ready for the healthcare system to be virtual in how we deliver care. The technology already exists for health systems to launch virtual care strategies. We have all the capabilities we need in order to bring these data into the clinical workflow in a way that makes sense for both patients and providers to provide better, more proactive care in a way that is equitable for everybody.
To learn more about how COVID-19 has changed the impact and potential of virtual care, listen here.
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