The onset of COVID-19 has had numerous repercussions in the healthcare industry. From overcrowding in hospitals to the need to keep social distancing and stop physical interactions with physicians, the way the world perceives and receives healthcare has been revamped. Virtual health is the big promise of the industry because it comes with a unique value proposition – to disrupt care delivery and meet patients at their location, at any time.
Access to healthcare is no longer bound by the limitations of one-on-one interactions, and as virtual health reaches mass adoption, organizations should continue to provide an outstanding patient experience even from a distance.
The boom of virtual health solutions amid COVID-19
Virtual health solutions were not widely accepted by most physicians prior to COVID-19. The majority considered them impersonal, restrained, and limited. Everything changed amid the pandemic and the shift to the virtual has been imminent. Fueled by necessity and regulatory flexibility, the global health crisis created, compelled the healthcare industry to shift mindsets, and embrace technology to keep business on the floating line.
As of May 2020, Deloitte Insights reported that virtual health usage in health practices increased from a registered 19% in 2019 all the way to 70% in 2020. As skepticism concerning the efficiency of digitalization in healthcare diminishes, virtual health has viable chances of gaining a pivotal role in the whole care delivery system following the pandemic. Increasingly more clinicians, physicians, and patients are starting to acknowledge the benefits, benefiting from the hands-on conveniences of virtual health.
The undeniable potential of TeleHealth
In an attempt to replace in-person healthcare visits that were canceled due to Covid-19, TeleHealth made a breakthrough in the United States where the numbers skyrocketed from 11% in 2019 all the way to 46% in 2020. The fear of getting the virus has accentuated the need to stay healthy at all costs and seek assistance even from a distance. As a consequence, virtual office visits via digital communication channels have proven to be just as efficient as an in-person visit to a practitioner’s office.
One of the most notable benefits of TeleHealth is that it can boost access to critical care needs for impaired patients, or in areas with health facility shortages. Fundamentally, the solutions offered can prove beneficial even after the pandemic, and many are realizing that COVID-19 has been the best use case for its potential.
Virtual health in action – chatbots to the rescue
Chatbots have proven their potential in numerous industries. In healthcare, AI-powered health systems can triage patients with a lot more precision, especially those accusing symptoms of COVID-19. Via fully automated screening algorithms, the response capabilities will be a lot faster and more precise.
Jefferson Health, for example, deployed an AI-powered chatbot in days.
LifeLink managed to efficiently schedule video calls with patients accusing COVID-19 symptoms, optimize care, and streamline phone calls while at the same time conducting risk assessments of the patients. Designed to be easily integrated with CRM systems and EMRs, the chatbot has proven that patient experiences and care outcomes can be delivered efficiently across a virtual platform.
Streamlining flexibility for healthcare providers working from home
As increasingly more people work from home in a range of industries, it seems that the healthcare industry is following the footsteps of IT, business, and consulting. Researchers agree that as virtual health strengthens as a standalone sector, health systems could be tapping into a more digital health workforce.
Clinicians in dire need of schedule flexibility could switch positions and opt to become virtual healthcare providers, and as new jobs will continue to emerge due to COVID-19, chances are that increasingly more patients will acknowledge that virtual health is the sector that will revolutionize the healthcare industry as a whole.
Bottom line is, prior to getting started, facilities and hospitals across the world should start implementing new strategies around automation and advanced technology to get a jumpstart in digitalization. For real change to occur, the key is to restructure techniques, embrace tools of the trade, and partner with the Fintechs to be able to provide virtual health accordingly.