The recent COVID-19 pandemic has been a global phenomenon, the likes of which the world hasn’t seen in decades. As a result, healthcare providers have been increasingly tasked with caring for more patients than they have ever had before. It’s a new reality and one that will affect traditional models of providing care for some time to come.
More than half of all office-based physicians in the U.S. reported seeing an increase in the number of people using virtual medical resources when COVID-19 was highly rampant. They also saw a drop in in-person care requests. But what does this all mean for the future of doctor’s offices and the healthcare industry?
The good news is that virtual and in-person care will have a place in doctor’s offices in the future. Providers need to continue offering both to service patients’ diverse needs as effectively as possible. There is no one-size-fits-all approach in healthcare and no one way of providing care for all patients.
While the number of in-person doctors increased with the pandemic, all those visits were for emergency care. In-person visits for non-urgent care decreased. Those who adopted a wait-and-see approach may have been wise, as their office visits dropped as well.
What Are the Benefits of Virtual Medical Care?
Virtual medical care is becoming increasingly popular as a primary method of providing care for patients. This trend is likely to continue as patient expectations change and people become more comfortable with virtual treatments, especially during COVID-19. The global nature of the pandemic has made patient care more complex than ever. The needs of patients around the globe are very different, and healthcare providers need to consider this when making plans for their practices.
Patients can access a reliable virtual doctor for hire with no impact on their lifestyle. They can easily schedule appointments via email or other communications services while still maintaining the freedom to schedule appointments in person whenever needed.
Virtual care can also reduce costs by helping people coordinate their medical appointments over longer periods. Providers can also expand their business into the future by increasing patient satisfaction while retaining costs.
Virtual care can be difficult to manage for people who are communicating with multiple providers. For this reason, doctors can offer virtual care as an alternative to more traditional in-person care but cannot replace it. Doctors need to continue offering traditional in-person appointments to provide patients with choices for receiving their care.
Therefore, virtual care is an option that should be made available for patients who prefer it and can also be used by those who require it because of complications with their health.
Why Is There a Slow Adoption of Telehealth?
It may be because of several factors, but one of the most important is that most people are uncomfortable or feel they can’t access their medical records or care with online services.
There are several reasons doctors might not be doing more virtual care for their patients, but they can solve most by changing how the practice operates. Patient access to their medical records is one way that doctors can encourage the use of virtual care.
The vast majority of patients are likely to avoid virtual care if they do not access their medical records. It makes it nearly impossible for anyone to make excellent decisions about their healthcare, let alone scheduling an appointment with a medical provider without knowing their complete medical history.
The Future of Telehealth
The future of telehealth is bright. Many believe that it is the future of healthcare, especially with the greater adoption of technology throughout society. However, many new technologies are also becoming more sophisticated by the day. It includes virtual medical care options, which are likely to become more useful and accessible in the future.
According to a telehealth report by McKinsey, the number of consumers interested in a set of broader virtual health solutions is on the rise as up to 46% of consumers have canceled their in-care visits replacing it with telehealth. While only a few hospitals in the U.S. at the start of the pandemic embraced virtual doctors, by March, many hospitals saw telehealth as a means to protect patients, preserve health care access, and sustain the workforce of many doctors.
The promise of virtual doctors – access to medical information from anywhere at any time – is also supported by the fact that they are often perceived as making it easier for people to receive life-saving treatment faster.
Doctors will need to learn how to implement virtual care into their business models to stay competitive. They will have to keep up with the growing trends as more patients contact them by phone or video chat. Those who have been reluctant to adopt virtual medical care should take a new look at what they are missing out on. Doctors will need to learn how to leverage advanced technologies if they want their practices to stay relevant for future generations.