The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rapid adoption of new digital tools, including virtual healthcare, telehealth, remote monitoring, automation, analytics, and more. While some physicians quickly learned and implemented these new tools into their practice, others adopted newer, unproven technologies to reach patients unable to enter the office.
Because of changes brought on by the pandemic, healthcare enterprises now see the potential of emerging technologies such as telehealth and mobile apps
This guide walks you through what we mean by virtual care. Will will also share how enterprises and private practice practitioners can implement the telehealth app to create a holistic approach to patient care, recovery, mental health treatment, and family/friend support care.
You will also learn how to prepare your practice or business for virtual care, how a virtual care platform grows your bottom line, allows you to see more patients, and creates a new level of flexibility within your practice.
What is Virtual healthcare?
Let’s begin by defining what we mean by virtual care. Virtual health care includes a platform that enables providers to connect with patients remotely, online using various tools. Virtual care uses technologies or tools like video conferencing, phone calls, instant messaging, an online calendar, and a dashboard where patients see their progress in real-time.
Virtual care allows practitioners to use features like online appointment scheduling, program automation, and payment processing that streamline administrative tasks, help alleviate stress, and maximize efficiency. Virtual care provides additional treatment options to patients who may not choose not to or don’t fit the in-patient therapy model to receive holistic care. Before this option, patients who didn’t fit the in-patient model have turned away.
How Is Virtual HealthCare Different from Telehealth?
Often used interchangeably, virtual health care and telehealth both use electronic and telecommunication technologies and services to provide remote care.
Telehealth is a broader term that encompasses all aspects of virtual health care.
According to CMS, telehealthcare encompasses telemedicine “generally refers to the exchange of medical information from one site to another through electronic communication to improve a patient’s health.”
Both Virtual Healthcare and Telehealthcare are the modes for providing care rather than referencing a specific type of care. Telehealthcare or Virtual healthcare services facilitate patient connection with a practitioner or a healthcare enterprise to receive treatment offsite.
Telehealthcare or Virtual Healthcare can involve real-time communication, via telephone, videoconferencing, or instant or in-app text-based messaging, alongside traditional in-person clinical care. So it enhances face-to-face care and allows for the care of patients who cannot come to a center for their care.
The Current Care Model
The current one-size-fits-all model results in poor engagement and retention because many potential clients cannot participate in in-person care. These patients have typically turned away, as are their family and friends, left to figure out how to cope with their issues alone.
The second challenge is keeping patients engaged in their care practitioners struggle to create a visional representation of patient successes.
Thirdly, once a patient leaves an in-person appointment, they feel isolated and don’t have the skillset to deal with daily life in-between visits. Often they leave treatment early or relapse.
In the case of patients seeking addiction recovery, it is more likely that the patients who don’t receive adequate treatment or proper doses of recovery medications turn back to substance abuse. Statistics show that almost half of them are readmitted within the next few years following failed recovery.
The emergence of virtual healthcare
The military first used telemedicine in the early 1990s through the U.S. Military Health Service. Physicians extended specialty care remotely from fixed bases to forces such as personnel deployed on ships. This model of care provided not only instant access to care but also the added benefit of lower costs.
Adoption and diffusion of telehealth accelerated over the last 25 years with improvements in telecommunication infrastructure and capacity, including high-speed Internet and broadband data services, data encryption standards for audio and video communications.
Preparing your enterprise to deliver virtual care
Is your healthcare clinic/enterprise ready to deliver virtual care?
A recent Deloitte study found that by 2040, healthcare will evolve from what we see today. Our focus will be more on health than healthcare. Using advanced tools to identify diseases earlier, caregivers will proactively intervene more quickly using virtual communication such as texting, video calling, or calling a patient directly from the enterprise’s app. This new model ensures consumers learn to take a more active role in their health.
Health care stakeholders will likely need to adopt new business models if they want to stay competitive in the future of the healthcare industry. Based on the above research, health care organizations should consider the following:
- Define organization-wide virtual health initiatives—Enterprises should establish their comprehensive objectives to advance virtual healthcare while determining where those fit in the changing landscape. Consider the target patient populations when investing in technology, analytics.
- Develop both consumer- and clinician-centric approaches—Healthcare stakeholders are more aware than ever that the current system is not just consumer- or patient-centered. Practitioners and other clinical staff must take part in decision-making. A shift toward a consumer-centric model will likely require workflow redesign, improving clinician and staff alignments across the network. With the move to virtual health, you must improve the clinical experience for patients and clinicians and the outcomes and the quality of care delivered.
- Educate your hospital/clinical staff—Education in medical schools will likely be necessary to facilitate the widespread adoption of virtual health. Virtual interactions between physician and patient significantly affect the patients’ overall experience and understanding of their condition. When providers look at data or notes and do not make eye contact with patients, they still must show empathy and compassion.
- Team up with partners—Alliances are critical to the success of virtual health advancement in your enterprise. In the current healthcare ecosystem, enterprises have recognized that they cannot go solo because they might lack some or all of the necessary capabilities. To effectively leverage the benefits of evolving technology, scientific discovery, and improved care models, it is crucial to address the drivers of health.
More and more health systems and plans are likely to collaborate and partner with community service providers, technology companies, retail pharmacies, employers, and others to succeed in a rapidly transitioning virtual health care system. In addition to the obvious connections, enterprises will connect with yoga instructors, meditation practitioners, art therapists/instructors, and many other types of modalities that treat the entire patient, body, mind, and spirit. Virtual care naturally lends itself to this holistic approach to patient care and can also be helpful for staff, and the patient’s support system, family, and friends.
The business value of virtual health for enterprises
Enhance care coordination
Virtual care or telehealth platforms allow patients to self-monitor their vitals at regular intervals and help them take responsibility for their care. They can access data on improving their symptoms and access other modalities to reduce stress and anxiety, such as meditation, yoga, or art therapies. Moreover, it allows clinicians to identify red flags in real-time to make informed decisions about their own care. Most importantly, telehealth helps empower patients and creates self-management habits.
Improve clinical outcome
By integrating telehealth and digital therapeutics with virtual visits, especially in value-based provider arrangements, incorporating virtual health into their care models could improve patient outcomes and overall performance.
Enhance consumer experience
Virtual care solutions can create substantial efficiency gains, quality improvements, and superior experience for consumers and health care practitioners. According to a recent survey, almost eighty percent of people who used telehealth services during COVID-19 reported patient satisfaction. Over seventy percent expect to access virtual care even after the pandemic.
According to a recent survey, seventy-seven percent of physicians believe the most significant impact of automation in their healthcare practice is increased efficiency. Physicians also see the benefits of using digital tools in their practice, including virtual care, improved job satisfaction, error-free diagnosis, enhanced patient experience, and saved time and resources.
Expand consumer and clinical access
In rural areas, many patients travel long distances to receive care. For many low-acuity primary care services, in-person visits may not even be necessary. Virtual healthcare solutions enable patients in need of urgent care to receive care remotely. Virtual care provides clinicians and the care teams flexibility in treatment and the ability to care for patients remotely.
Benefits of NuLife in Virtual Health Care
Grow your reach
Eliminate traditional barriers to access like geography, affluence, transportation, and more.
Patients can interact with practitioners and peers from anywhere, at any time.
Enhance your outcomes
Spend less time doing administrative work and more time focusing on your patients.
Automatically generate meeting links, send surveys and assessments with a single click. Send articles, homework, and support documents with a click.
Grow your revenue
Save on the financial burden of hiring staff to maintain a brick and mortar practice, or ensure your in-patient facility stays full with an in-flow of new patients.
Enhance your brand
Instantly enrich your offer and control your brand. When anyone enters your app, they see your branding immediately and begin to associate positive feelings and safety every time they utilize the app.
Engage in meaningful conversations
Engage your clients with meaningful encounters by offering them a private, safe community, post-visit chats, or the ability to send homework, meaningful articles, or positive notes of encouragement.
Personalize patient communications
Patients and their care team can decide the best methods of communication for each patient and message frequency and steps to take when the patient needs to reach out for a fast response to an issue or crisis.
Enrich the on-site patient experience
Everything is easier with in-app appointment check-ins, follow-ups to office visits, and no need to wait to set up the next appointment because it all gets done in the app.
Provide offsite support and customized care
Provide quick assistance to patients before admission and post-discharge through text, calls, video chats, and email messaging, all HIPPA compliant.
Deliver industry-specific validated assessments to improve care and engage patients.
Schedule virtual and in-person meetings, events, support groups, one-on-one sessions, and more, and staff and patients see it right in the in-app calendar. Everyone will get reminders and be able to make changes as needed.
Manage patients effectively
Easily manage your patient’s journey by accessing their assessment results, providing them with a visual representation of their success, and supporting their family/friend support system too.
The future enterprise and private practice roadmaps dictate that virtual healthcare be a primary component of holistic treatment for all patients to see greater profits, increased success, and a more flexible workplace for all caregivers. With continuously evolving scientific and technological advances in the current healthcare ecosystem, virtual healthcare will provide enhanced capabilities to mental health organizations informing a more personalized treatment plan for the individual patient.
Virtual care platforms hold great promise in delivering better quality care at a lower cost by leveraging emerging digital technologies. These platforms integrate well with existing systems, automate staff workloads increasing efficiency and profits. Soon, most enterprises will harness the data to better care for the patients of the future.
- Future of Virtual Health
- Digital Health Trends
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- Covid 19 telehealth delivery reaps high patient satisfaction
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- Telehealth is improving healthcare efficiency